School Gardens as Object Lessons

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Bolton Hall

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The cultivation of vacant lots has been the best object lesson the civilized world has ever had to show that the poor will usually work when they have the opportunity, and that even in our complex society nothing is needed for profitable employment except access to desirable land. It points to the natural, that is to say, the Divine, method of relieving involuntary poverty. For that reason it should be established in every city, if anyone cannot be found to take it up, and the work should begin early.

The school gardens teach the people to use land profitably, in the simplest way to get a return from their labor within a month by such crops as radishes and onions; and, above all, to deliver themselves to some extent from the power of the land owner. For where a small piece of land is needed, not necessarily near a center, neither high rent nor even high selling price will entirely hinder its use for intensive cultivation.

The school gardens appeal strongly to the increasing number of persons who want to get "the people back to the land."

Efforts are being made by the Salvation Army to take up vacant lot gardens, and to get the school gardens introduced into all schools, and especially into asylums and prisons, so that men and women may find a means of livelihood, without needing to find capital or an employer.


  • Bolton Hall, “School Gardens as Object Lessons,” The Public 7, no. 362 (March 11, 1905): 783.

Catagory: Works by Bolton Hall