Cornell University has a rich history of garden education, beginning with the enthusiasm of Liberty Hyde Bailey. And it’s still vibrant and thriving today.
Currently, there are a number of avenues through which the public and students at the university can learn about, engage in, or become involved with, gardens, gardening, and garden programs.
Cornell Garden-Based Learning provides educators with inspiring, research-based gardening resources and professional development to support engaging, empowering, and relevant learning experiences for children, youth, adults, and communities. We are part of the Horticulture Section in Cornell's School of Integrative Plant Science and Cornell Cooperative Extension. Our work encompasses programs, activities, and projects in which the garden is the foundation for integrated learning and discovery across disciplines, through active and engaging real-world experiences. We also offer numerous distance learning opportunities.
Cornell Botanic Gardens is alive with plants, purpose, and a presence that truly distinguishes the University among its peers. Our mature botanical garden, arboretum, and diverse network of nature preserves (off-campus and on) help make Cornell one of the most beautiful campuses anywhere. Learning at Cornell Plantations encompasses a community education program, lecture series, youth program, and more.
New York Agriculture in the Classroom fosters awareness, understanding, and appreciation of how we produce food and fiber, what we eat, and how we live, by helping educators, students, and their communities learn about and engage with agriculture and food systems. Established in 1985, New York Agriculture in the Classroom (NYAITC) is a partnership of Cornell University, the NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets, the NYS Education Department, Cornell Cooperative Extension, and the New York Farm Bureau. We work with pre-K through middle school teachers, Cornell Cooperative Extension and other community educators, farmers and producers, volunteers, parents, and community partners to increase agricultural literacy in New York State; our Kids Growing Food program gets students involved in school gardening.
Cornell Farm to School Outreach helps link schools with local farms. Programs include school meals featuring local food, food and agriculture education in the classroom, school gardens, field trips to farms, and celebrations. Students learn about their local agriculture system and have better access to delicious local foods. Farmers expand markets for their products. And local economies grow stronger.
The Civic Ecology Lab is founded on the belief that humans can act to enhance the social-ecological systems of which they are a part. While not limited to garden education, through integrating research and outreach, students and faculty working in the Lab seek to understand and support community-based stewardship practices, including community forestry, community gardening, and watershed restoration. Our work centers on the role of civic ecology practices in communities facing conflict, disaster, and other social, economic, and environmental stresses as well as the meanings people attribute to these practices. One of our projects, Garden Mosaics, is now housed with the American Community Gardening Association.
Dilmun Hill is a student-run farm that has been practicing sustainable agriculture on Cornell University's campus for more than a decade. Our mission is to provide students, faculty, staff and community with opportunities for experiential learning, group collaboration and research. Students can gain hands-on gardening experience in addition to a range of farming practices.
The Department of Horticulture offers individual study, internships, and courses that weave in elements of gardening, including (but not limited to) Hort 1102: Hands-On Horticulture, HORT/IARD 3200: Experiential Garden-Based Learning in Belize, Hort 4850: Public Garden Management, and HORT 1250: Organic Vegetable Gardening. There are also student clubs, including Hortus Forum, Cornell's undergraduate horticulture club.