Honors Theses

Date of Award

Spring 5-12-2023

Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis



First Advisor

Alicia Stapp

Second Advisor

Ann Monroe

Third Advisor

David H. Holben

Relational Format



Explicit nutrition and gardening education for preschool-aged children is on the decline as health concerns increase (Fryar et al., 2018; Malden et al., 2019). Though the health, social-emotional, and academic benefits of hands-on gardening education are evident in research, many barriers to integration exist that inhibit teachers from implementing gardening into their classrooms (Burt et al., 2018; Heim et al., 2009; Gatto et al., 2011; Lineberger et al., 2000). Tower Gardens, otherwise known as hydro- and aeroponic, vertical gardening systems, offer an alternative to the space and time required for traditional gardening. However, the body of literature surrounding the impacts and feasibility of implementing Tower Gardens is limited. Therefore, this study explored teachers’ perceptions of and experiences of implementing Tower Gardens into pre-kindergarten 4-year old classrooms. A focus group was conducted with Pre-K-4 teachers who integrated Tower Gardens through the Growing Healthy Minds, Bodies, and Communities curriculum, and responses were analyzed through qualitative data coding. Four themes emerged as a result of this study: (a) learning experience; (b) a multitude of interactions with growing and food; (c) increased classroom engagement; and (d) implementation and positive outcomes. These findings suggest that Tower Gardens can be implemented with relative ease in the classroom and produce positive outcomes for student engagement and interactions with foods.

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Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.



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