The following report was submitted to the Indiana State Board of Education; Titled; The Richmond Indiana Survey For Vocational Education; December 1, 1916
Wayne County and Richmond
County and city.”As the marketing, shipping and industrial center of an agricultural county, the economic relations of city and county are closely interwoven. This is shown from the Transportation Map in Chapter II. According to the 1910 census between ninety and ninety-five per cent, of the land area of Wayne County is in farms. The average value of this land is from fifty to seventy-five dollars per acre (this value has increased very rapidly in the last five years). The State of Indiana is divided into seven divisions, according to land values, and Wayne County is placed in the fourth division. In comparison with the other ninety-one counties, Wayne stands thirty-fourth in the value of farm property, twelfth in population, twenty-fourth in the production of potatoes and forty-fourth in the production of other vegetables. A comparison of amounts and values of the agricultural products of the county demonstrates that the majority of the farmers are engaged in general farming. Near the city there are a few specialized farms growing vegetables and berries for the city market, but the small number prevents over-supply and consequent low prices even in the periods of marketing short season crops.
The City of Richmond
Growth of the city.”The growth of the city has been gradual. At no one time does there seem to have been a rapid increase in population with consequent high lot values. In topography the land both in and near the corporate limits of the city is level, which, with low values per front foot, has reacted in the laying out of comparatively large building lots. The size of the lots ranges from 40 by 160 feet to 70 by 165 feet, and many home grounds are much larger. Lots completely covered or nearly covered by buildings arc only to be found where the back part of comer lots have been sold for the building of houses facing on cross streets. A large part of the families live in single houses. The 1910 census shows that there were 5,533 dwellings for the accommodation of 5,874 families, or only 341 cases of families living in apartment houses or with other families. In the last five years the number of families has increased to 6,607; and from the number of building permits issued, dwellings seem to have increased at about the same rate as has the number of families, but a larger percentage of flats has been erected. The figures on dwellings and families correspond very well with the estimated growth in population of between two and three thousand over 22,324, as given in the 1910 census.
Architectural styles.”The architecture of the homes is, in the main, very plain. With the exception of two small sections, straight line building has been the rule, hi the older and better parts of the city this has resulted in rather substantial-looking homes, placed on an average of thirty-five feet from the curb, thus leaving a good space for lawns, which in most cases, are well kept. Many shade trees have been planted, but little attention has been given to breaking the box-like lines of the older square house without a porch or the more modem house by the planting of vines and shrubbery. In several sections of the city well landscaped homes are to be found and the additional attractiveness of the streets is well illustrated.
Production and distribution of garden products.”In any consideration of the economic value which the home garden may have to city families, the place of production, methods of purchase and cost of vegetables and small fruits must be studied. Question blanks were filled out by eleven grocers and fifty-eight housewives. The grocers’ reports are summarized as follows: Sixtyfive per cent, of the fresh vegetables sold through their stores during the year are secured from farmers, and thirty-five per cent. through commission houses. In the total sale of vegetables to the people of the city the grocers sell from seventy to seventy-five per cent.; the fanners’ market twenty to twenty-five per cent.; and the hucksters five to ten per cent. The cost of fresh and canned vegetables to a family of five persons is estimated by the storekeepers at between twenty-five and forty cents per day, or a total cost of from $91.25 to $146.00 per year. The grocers were unanimous in stating that the consumption of canned vegetables had increased very rapidly during the last few years, and, on the average, estimated that from forty to fifty per cent, of all vegetable foods used in the city are now purchased in cans. One store proprietor illustrated this increase by stating that seven years ago a saleswoman for a prominent brand of canned goods spent two weeks in selling between two and three hundred dollars’ worth to housewives, whereas, in the same length of time this year, she disposed of between throe and four thousand dollars’ worth.
Forty-seven housewives reported that sixty-eight per cent, of the vegetables purchased for use in their homes came from the grocery store, twenty-four per cent, from the farmers’ market, and eight per cent, from the huckster. Reports received from fifty families with a total of two hundred and thirty individuals give the daily cost of fresh vegetables as four and six-tenths cents a day per person or a total of $83.95 for a family of five for one year. The amount expended for canned vegetables as given by the housekeepers is much lower than the grocers’ estimate and exactly half of that spent for fresh vegetables. The daily cost per individual was found to be two and three-tenths cents or a yearly cost of forty-one dollars and ninety-seven and one-half cents for five people.
The figures on small fruits (including strawberries) as received from grocers and housewives are much less definite. They agree, however, in stating that from seventy-five to eighty per cent, of the year’s sale of berries is sold to the consumer through the grocery stores; that fully ninety per cent, of the berries used are purchased during the ten weeks to three months that local berries arc on the market, and that the amount of canned berries consumed in the average home is small. During the ten weeks that local berries are on the market, forty-six housekeepers, representing families containing 209 persons, report a daily average cost of three and seven-tenths cents per person. The total cost for a family of five for 70 days would be $12.95. Taking the housewives’ figures as a basis, a family of five persons spend on an average of $138.87J per year for canned and fresh vegetables and fresh berries. The canning of fruits and vegetables in the home has decreased, not over five to ten per cent, of the amount consumed is home canned.
The price of vegetables and small fruit foods to the city family depends largely on the competition between grocers. From the standpoint for which it was intended, the farmers’ market seems to be largely a failure, as on the one hand the city purchasers claim that prices arc not less than at the stores, and, on the other, a large number of farmers consider it more profitable to sell the produce all at once and spend the extra time in farm work. City ordinances permit the selling of farm produce to the homes without a huckstering license, but, again, the element of the value of the farmer’s time enters and very few take advantage of this method of selling.
Cultivation and irrigation.”The soil in the city back yards and vacant lots is almost without exception well adapted to vegetable gardening. There are a few well filled lots, but the number is exceedingly small. In most seasons the rainfall is sufficient for the maturing of crops if the water is conserved by cultivation. During extremely dry spells, back yard gardens may be watered without extra cost, as the city water company makes its charge per front foot without regard to the depth of the lot. In the case of vacant lot gardens there would be an extra cost for the use of water. That climatic and soil conditions are well adapted to gardening is well shown by the large production of the gardens where intensive methods of planting and cultivation are practiced.
Garden Promotion of Recent Years
Charity organizations and schools.”Several organizations have fostered family gardening, and two of the elementary schools have conducted school gardens. The high school classes in botany purchase seeds through the school, and the students are encouraged to make home gardens. Previous to the last garden season, one social workers’ club, or committee of such club, was instrumental in obtaining vacant lots for the use of families who wished to conduct gardens. A few volunteer workers gave freely of their time, and good results were accomplished. Last season, this work was conducted by the Central Bureau of Charities. In all, forty-six applications for garden land were received, and gardens were found for twenty-two families. No accurate record of the productive result of these gardens was kept, but considering the limited time that could be given to the supervision of the work by the secretary of the Central Bureau, it was considered a success. So far as can be learned, gardening for its economical results or educational value, has not become the duty of the workers under any permanent organization, such as the School Board or Central Bureau of Charities. While no attempt should be made to detract from the value of what has been done, the work has lacked definiteness since it has not been’on a sound financial basis, and under the direction of trained and practical garden leaders.
The Ten Elementary Schools
The elementary school districts form convenient divisions for the study of conditions in different parts of the city. In the main, these districts are remarkably uniform in size when it is considered that the boundaries are marked by the principal business streets, the railroad lines and the Whitewater river. In the character of homes, the size of lots, and the living conditions of the people, there are marked variations which merit separate discussion for each district and school.
Finley district.”The Finley school district includes a part of the oldest and most closely built section of the city. The houses are built on smaller lots than is common in other districts. Seventy per cent, of the people rent their homes, and some of the home grounds are not well cared for. In other homes, well-kept lawns are to be found, and in these homes every square foot of back yard space is often used for the cultivation of a kitchen garden. About twelve per cent, of the back yards are too small for the production of enough vegetables for the families but large vacant areas are to be found short distances away. An examination of ten blocks, containing 214 houses, was made, and gave the following result: 26 had no garden space; 62, between 400 and 1.000 square feet; and 126, more than 1,000 square feet. There were two vacant lots in the ten blocks.
The Finley school had an enrollment of 250 pupils at the beginning of the school year, 122 of whom were in the upper three grades. Ninety-nine children made reports, of which number five had vacation work; six, irregular gainful occupation; three were engaged in gainful after school employment; and twentytwo helped with home work and the care of a garden or chickens. Lack of garden space was reported by fourteen children, while the other eighty-five had an average of 1,051 square feet each.
Warner district.”The Warner school district gives a first impression of being very closely built. The building line is near the street, however, and an examination of the back yards reveals more space than would be expected in a district bordering the railroads, factories and river. Ten blocks containing 190 houses were examined, with the following results: 14 had no garden space; 93, between 400 and 1,000 square feet; and 83, over 1,000 square feet. At twenty-one of the homes some vegetables were grown last season.
The Warner school enrollment in September was 295, with 146 pupils in the 4th, 5th and 6th grades. Of 111 children reporting on the number of square feet of garden space in the back yard, 14 state that they have no space; 59, an average of 400 square feet; and 38, more than 1.000 square feet. For the 111 children there is an average of 1,000 square feet each. Fifteen children worked during the vacation, three had irregular employment, and the three who have regular work after school hours earn an average of $1.17 per week. The figures on summer vacation earnings were not complete, but, when given, the amounts were small.
Starr district.”The Starr school district includes a large area of the oldest residential section of the city, and, judging from the school enrollment, it has the largest population. The lots, on the whole, are large in size, although there are many large homes and double houses which cover much ground. A very complete study of back yard garden space was made in this district. The ground available in every home was measured by the aid of the insurance map of the city and these measurements verified by visits to some of the homes. Of the 1,198 lots that were examined, 137 had little garden space, 358 had from 400 to 1,000 square feet, 703 had 1,000 or more square feet, and there were 67 vacant lots in the district.
The Starr school had an enrollment at the beginning of the school year of 460 pupils. Two hundred and twenty-five of these children were in the three upper grades. Question forms were made out by 216 children, of whom twenty had regular vacation work, fourteen worked after school, and eight had employment for a part of the time during the summer. Twenty-seven children either had a garden of their own or helped with the family garden. Of the 205 children who reported the amount of land in back yards which could be used for gardening, fourteen had little or no space, ninety-eight had an average of 400 square feet, and ninety-three had more than 1,000 square feet. The average space for each of the 205 children was 1,139 square feet.
Whitewater district.”The Whitewater school district, located on the northeast section of the city, while slightly irregular in shape, is approximately ten blocks east and west by five north and south. A large number of the houses are rented and the lack of pride, which comes with ownership, is evidenced by the unkept lawns and dilapidated outbuildings which line the alleys as regularly as do the houses the streets. Few of the houses have bath rooms or sewer-connected toilets, and the condition of back lots, out-houses, and alleys, would indicate that the city health ordinances are not being obeyed. A few of the homes are as well kept as in other parts of the city. The lots are larger than it is common to find in sections of eastern cities where the houses are built for rent. A study of the back yards of 155 homes of ten blocks in the most congested part of the district was made with the following result: 11 had little or no space for gardening, 37 had between 400 and 1,000 square feet, 107 had 1,000 square feet or more, and there were 71 vacant lots, all of which space might be used in gardening.
In the Whitewater school 285 pupils were enrolled at the beginning of the present school year, 98 of whom were in the fourth, fifth and sixth grades. Ninety-five of these upper grade children, aided by teachers and parents, filled out questionnaires from which the following figures were obtained: 78 children had no definite employment during the summer vacation, 11 worked throughout the summer, the other six had irregular work. Twentytwo out of 66 children reported that their homes are rented. In only three of the 95 back yards is there lack of garden space, 37 have an average of 400 square feet, and 55 have more than 1,000 square feet. The total number of square feet given by the ninety-five reports is 458,135, or an average of 4,822 square feet per child.
A successful school garden has been conducted at the Whitewater school for the past three years. The garden is not continued during the vacation, but only crops maturing before the close of school are planted. The value of the crop for the spring of 1914 was: Onions, $25.60; radishes, $72.05; and lettuce, $29.70.
Hibberd district.”The Hibberd school district is on the southcentral edge of the city; to the south and east there is much vacav.t land laid out in city lots and farm land. Some of this land seems to be little used, and might well be turned into family garden tracts. There are also many scattered vacant lots, some of which give evidence of having been cultivated last season. A large number of back yards are under cultivation, and the economical use of the home grounds give evidence of the thrift of the people. One hundred and seventy-seven homes were examined in the most closely built section of the district, with the following results: 15 had little or no lot space adapted to gardening; 39 had from 400 to 1,000 square feet; and 123 had 1,000 square feet, or more.
The Hibberd school enrolled 295 children in September, 112 of whom were in the fourth, fifth and sixth grades. Reports received from 103 children give the following figures: Ten had regular vacation work, four worked a part of the time, five worked after school, and thirty-seven owned a garden or helped with the family garden. The total value of garden products as given by thirteen children was $193, or an average of $14.85 each, while twelve who worked in stores, or sold papers, etc., earned a total of $142.30, an average of $11.86 each. Available home garden space was given by eighty-eight children as follows: One, no space; forty-three, less than 1,000 square feet; and forty-four,
31–more than 1,000 square feet. The average garden space per child was 5,730 square feet.
Vaile district.”The Vaile school district is the largest in area in the city. Only a few homes have been built in the south eastern section which constitutes about one-third of the whole district. The house lots arc large and the lawns well kept. Many of the back yards are in sod and comparatively few vegetable gardens are to be found. Just at the south of the district new lot plans have been laid out and there is much unused vacant space that might be used for gardening.
The Vaile school had 280 pupils enrolled at the beginning of school in the fall. One hundred thirty-seven pupils were in the upper three grades. Questionnaires were signed by 135 pupils but in many cases the information was incomplete, and a few parents (the only cases in the elementary schools) objected to giving the information sought. Only two pupils report regular vacation work, and five earned money a part of the time. In reply to questions on land available for gardening, many answered that they did not have any space, as back yards that were in sod were not considered available. Of sixty-four children who gave the amount of land that might be used three lived in houses without lots;thirty-six had from 400 to 1,000 square feet;and twenty-five over 1,000 square feet. The average number of square feet per child was 2,510.
Baxter district.”The Baxter school district is in the central section on the west side of the city. The large vacant tracts and farm lands are therefore all to the west. Near the end of the two bridges leading to the business part of the city most of the building lots are occupied by houses. These lots are all large, and practically all of the homes have available garden space in the back yards.
The Baxter school attendance in September was 285, with 147 enrolled in the three upper grades. One hundred and thirtythree reported on vacation employment as follows: Nine had definite work, ten part-time employment, and six after school employment. Six of the children who had their own gardens made an average profit of ten dollars. One hundred and ten children measured the available garden space at home: One had no land for gardening, fifty-four had less than 1,000 square feet, and fifty-five had a larger amount. The average number of square feet per child was 1,617.
Sevastopol district.”The Sevastopol school district, on the northwest corner of the city, is joined on two sides by open fanning land, and there are large tracts in the district which are vacant. About forty per cent, of the homes have gardens and a few vacant tracts are used for cultivation. Many single lots are unused, all of which are large enough for a family garden, if intensive garden methods were used. A detailed examination of available garden land in any section of this district was deemed unnecessary, as without question there is enough space available for all who wish to use their own lot or to obtain the use of vacant areas.
The Sevastopol school enrolled 235 children at the commencement of the school year. One hundred and one pupils were in the three upper grades. Several other children have entered since that time, as questionnaires were filled out by one hundred and four children. Sixteen children report definite work from which money is earned during the summer vacation; nine irregular employment; and eight have after school employment. Gardens are owned by six of the pupils, and eight others help with the family garden. Space available for gardening on the home lot was reported as follows: Two, no land; seventeen, 400 to 1,000 square feet; and sixty-four, 1,000 square feet, or more. Eightyfive children had an average of 4,116 square feet each.
Joseph Moore district.”The Joseph Moore school district, considering its area, has the smallest population of any district of the city. With few exceptions, the building lots are large, and there are many vacant tracts of land. An examination of the plat map of the city clearly demonstrated that it was unnecessary to make a detailed study of land available for home and vacant lot gardening. Back yard gardens are to be found at many of the homes, and vacant tracts show evidence of having been cultivated last season. The area used for the production of food for the homes of this community could easily be more than doubled.
The Joseph Moore school might well be called a city school in a rural district. The city limit is reached at the south edge of the school grounds, and from that point the land is all in farms, several of which extend into the corporation. The total enrollment of children in the school at the beginning of the school year was 105, of which number thirty-five were in the three upper grades. Reports received from thirty-four of the children demonstrates that some garden activities and work on near-by farms furnished more employment for older children than is to be found in other parts of the city. Twenty-eight of the children claim some vacation occupation, although in the case of twenty-two the work was indefinite and irregular. The six boys who report regular work earned an average of $24 each.
Less than 1,000 square feet of garden space in the home lot is reported in only four cases. Thirty-two of the children have an average of 2,873 feet per child, and of the other two, one has four and the other seventeen and one-half acres.
The Garfield school.”All of the pupils of the seventh and eighth grades of the city are enrolled in the Garfield school. Coming from all parts of the city, the reports on garden space by these pupils serve as a cross-check on those received from the elementary schools. Five hundred and ninety pupils were enrolled when school opened in September, of which number information in regard to the out-of-school activities and home garden space was given by 271 boys and 245 girls. One hundred and twenty-six boys worked during the summer vacation selling papers, in stores, and similar occupations; sixty-one are employed after school hours or on Saturday, and thirty-six helped at home with the care of a garden or chickens. The average income from the boys having regular occupations was $36.85. Only four of the girls were employed outside of the home, and eleven helped with home gardens.
A survey of the before and after school occupations of the pupils of this school was made by the principal a short time ago, which gave results as follows: Of 297 boys, thirty-four worked before school, 142 had home duties; after school sixty-nine worked and one hundred and forty-seven had home duties; of 257 girls, none worked before school, 111 had home duties, and thirty-six had special lessons; after school, four worked, 172 had home duties, and 111 had special lessons or worked on school subjects. A special record was also made of the desire of the parents and children in regard to the home work of the pupils, as follows: Of the parents, 163 favored having the children employed, 128 opposed, and 164 were indifferent; of the children, 309 favored having employment, 133 opposed, and 112 were indifferent.
Reports on home garden space were made by all of the children as follows: Forty-five little or no space; 206, an average of 400 square feet, and 265, more than 1,000 square feet.
The high school.”No attempt was made to make a complete study of the gardening activities and summer occupations of high school students. Questionnaires were distributed to the freshman botany class and to those who took botany last year. Sixty-two blanks were returned by the members of the present class but the number received from the previous class was too small on which to base conclusions in regard to the number of gardens cultivated as a result of the sale of seeds and class instruction. Of the sixtytwo reports that were tabulated, five students owned gardens, ten helped with family gardens, and a total of thirty-eight families had a vegetable garden. Sixteen pupils had regular vacation work from which money was earned; seven part-time work; and thirty-eight claimed some regular home duties. Three of the students had little or no space for a home garden, thirty-eight had less than 1,000 square feet, and twenty-one had over 1,000 square feet. The average space that could be used for a garden by each pupil was 1.825 square feet.
About seventy students from farm homes near the city are enrolled in the Richmond high school each year. In the course of study of the school no provision has been made for the teaching of subjects that have a special bearing on country life.
Country school children.”In order to make a comparison of the out-of-school duties of city and country children, a half day was spent with the county superintendent of schools, visiting schools in the country districts. The early closing of the schools of the county prevented making this part of the study as extensive as was desired.
Two schools were visited, one a typical two-room country school building to which all the children came from farm homes, and the other an eight-room village school, but in the latter all children not living on farms were excluded. The same questions used in the Richmond schools were asked., and answers recorded from 112 pupils. Of these. 103 had definite home duties for which they were responsible each day; 16 had their own farm projects of which they kept a record, and had any profit which might be made; and 3 worked outside the home to earn money.
Juvenile court records and truancy.”A careful study was made of the Juvenile court records since the beginning of such records in September 1907. Of two hundred and two cases given, the place from which the children were brought follows: 185 were from Richmond, six from Cambridge City, four from Hagerstown, three from Greensfork, two from Fountain City, one from Boston and one from Wayne township. In forty-five of the cases the children were from babyhood to six years of age; 24 were between the ages of seven and nine, inclusive; 113, between ten and fourteen; and twenty-nine, sixteen years of age or over. Of the cases that were between birth and the ninth year, the cause of appearance in court rested largely with the parents; between ten and fourteen, mischief was the principal complaint; and in the case of the older children, mischief and sex immorality were the leading causes.
Complete records of truancy were obtainable only for the 1914-15 school year. The office of the truant officer for the city was separated from the county during the present school year and records were not yet compiled. The distribution of the truancy cases for 1914-15 was as follows: Richmond, 461; Cambridge City, Hagerstown, Fountain City and Boston, six; and from farms, five.
Children leaving school to work.”The records of working permits and employers’ reports show that there were seventy-nine boys and sixty-nine girls under seventeen years of age employed in Richmond on March 1, 1916. Eleven of these children left school while in the fifth grade; forty in the sixth; thirty-eight in the seventh; thirty-seven in the eighth; ten in the first year of the high school and three in the second high school year. The following reasons were given for leaving school: Seventy-six, economic necessity: thirty-four wanted to work; thirteen did not like school; and twenty-three for varying reasons. For a more complete discussion see Chapter XXIV, “Juvenile Employment.” The fact that twenty-nine of the children left school before the age at which they could be employed under the state law, seems to indicate that they gave up their studies because the school subjects had ceased to be of interest to them, or that they had failed to receive promotion. The majority of those holding working permits attended Indiana schools, fifty-seven were born in Richmond, forty-eight in other parts of the state, thirty-eight in other states, and three are of foreign birth. One hundred thirteen of the children attended the Richmond public schools; twenty, Richmond parochial schools; and thirteen came to the city from schools elsewhere.
Industrial conditions and charity.”During the last three years several of the larger manufacturers of the city have either moved to other places or discontinued business. The resulting shortage of work caused financial stress in a large number of families. The Central Bureau of Charities was called to aid 784 family units last year. This number is, however, about double that receiving help during normal times. Some of those who were out of work moved to other cities, and a few secured places as farm laborers or became tenant farmers.
During the panics of 1893-1897, when there was a shortage of work all over the country, a large number of Richmond people were unable to find work, and in order to provide the necessities of life obtained work on farms. Young men who had come to the city from farm homes, returned, and others became farm laborers and tenants. The return of prosperity and resumption of business brought only a small part of these people back to the city, and many are now prosperous farmers of Wayne County.
City beauty and civic pride.”There are many expensive homes in the city of Richmond, but, with few exceptions, they lack completeness because of the absence of vines and shrubbery. A large number of homes were examined to determine what had been done in the way of planting perennials to decorate the houses; about ten per cent, of the houses were well planted, forty per cent, had a few shrubs and vines, and fifty per cent, had no planting. When the trees are in leaf this defect is somewhat covered by the many street shade trees and by well-kept lawns. The prevailing type of architecture particularly needs additional adornment. The most common shrubs now used in the landscaping of the homes arc lilacs, syringas, and spireas. In many places there are ungraceful bushes with small tufts of green at the tops due to a lack of intelligent care. The advantage coming from the use of evergreen shrubs, under Richmond climatic conditions, does not seem to be appreciated. A knowledge of home beautification on the part of the people might easily double the city’s beauty and increase property values. The statement of one Richmond real estate dealer on this point should be convincing. He says, “A home with a well decorated exterior is half sold.”
The plan of laying out as many alleys as streets has both advantages and disadvantages. In these alleys are buildings of all sizes, colors and conditions of repair. The presence of the alley offers the excuse and easily leads to the habit of dumping everything which is not needed in the house or yard over the back fence. In some sections of the city, the alleys are a disgrace to the town and a menace to public health, while in others they are well kept.
Glen Miller Park is a credit to the city, but its location is such that people of the central and western part of the city do not visit it often on account of the great distance. The central landscape feature of the city seems to have been overlooked entirely. The Whitewater river valley holds great scenic possibilities and has the advantage of being located where it can be seen each day by many residents and all strangers who visit the city.
Summary of Findings and Conclusions
Homes.”Although located in the center of a farming region, the prices paid for vegetables are comparatively high. Prices are standardized by present methods of selling. Considering the low average labor income, the amount spent for vegetable foods is large. About thirty per cent, of the families have home or vacant lot vegetable gardens, but the methods of planting and cultivation are not intensive, and the money value of the product is small. Of all the homes in the city, less than ten per cent, lack space on which to make a practical kitchen garden as shown by Table 25; thirty per cent, have enough land to produce all the vegetables for the family during the productive season of the garden; and sixty per cent, have an area large enough to produce fresh and canned vegetables and berries for the entire year, and, in many cases, they have a surplus to sell. There is enough vacant ground so that all of those who are without land could secure enough for a family garden. Vacant lots can be rented for one dollar each but are usually secured free of charge. When remuneration is necessary the amount is so small that it would have little effect in decreasing the profits.
Schools.”The school year in Richmond is nine months in length and the school day five hours. The children are out of school nearly half of the week days of the entire year, and three-fourths of the days of the garden season. On school days, less than half of the daylight hours are spent in the class room. All of the children of the city might have occupations two hours per day on school days and four on Saturdays, holidays and in the summer vacation, and yet have enough time left for play, reading, music, and other special studies. At the present time only 9.1 per cent, of the elementary school children as shown by Table 26 have regular productive occupation during vacation; 7 per cent.,
Occupation OF Elementary School Children During Vacation And After School
irregular employment; and 4.4 per cent, work after school hours. In the, Garfield school, nineteen per cent, are engaged in earning money before and after school, and twenty-five per cent, during the vacation. Of the high school students reporting, only onefourth have vacation occupation.
Of 889 children in the elementary schools reporting on home garden space, six per cent, were without home lots, thirty-nine per cent, had an average of 400 square feet, and fifty-five per cent, had 1,000 or more square feet, as shown by Table 27.
In several cities where home gardening has been conducted under the direction of the public schools, the children have been able to produce a net profit of ten cents per square foot. The children of the ten elementary schools of Richmond should be able, on the basis of the number of square feet reported as shown by Table 27, to earn from their gardens a total of $62,820 or an average per child of $70.66. The home garden income from the 516 reporting from the Garfield school would be $34,740. or an average per child of $67.32.
In some cases the same land has been reported on by two children of the same family, one attending the elementary schools and the other the Garfield school. These cases will, however, be offset by the large vacant tracts of which no account has been made, and while the figures may seem large there is little doubt that each public school child of an age sufficient to care for a garden may produce enough to reduce the cost of vegetables in his home to half the present cost.
A comparatively large number of children leave school each year, some because they need to earn money toward the support of the home, and others because school subjects do not interest them. The earnings of these children are small and the earning powers might be much increased if a more complete education were received. The number of cases of juvenile delinquency and truancy is very much greater in the city than in the country. With each industrial depression city families turn to the country to seek a means of livelihood. Agricultural instruction is not given in the schools and thus the younger pupils do not become interested in the subject; older students are unable to pursue the subject vocationally, and those who, from financial necessity, seek the country have a small earning capacity and are unable to adapt themselves to country life.
The beauty of the city might be much increased if the citizens
were familiar with the methods of cultivation and the care of decorative plants.
Value of garden training in Richmond.”A thorough and practical garden training would have great economic and educational value to all of the people of the city. To make the most successful gardens knowledge and skill are necessary. Profitable gardening may result from years of experience, but the quickest and greatest returns in money and pleasure can be obtained only when experience is combined with scientific study of soil, climate, and crop production. Many people born in the city have little or no knowledge of making practical home gardens,, and even those who have lived on farms have little experience in the kind of intensive gardening adapted to the city. The schools are established for the education of all the people and therefore are the logical centers for garden teaching. Through them such teaching may be given more economically and permanently than through any other agency.
The economical and educational value of garden education as a department of the public educational system of the city should reach all of the people. While the garden teachers would devote their attention primarily to the children, they should also act as a source of information and help to all who are interested in gardening. The following advantages should result from the establishment of such a department:
A thousand children might be employed in healthful and gainful occupation during the out-of-school hours.
All of the unused land and unproductive time of the children might be used to contribute to the wealth of the home and community.
Many children will be able to remain in school longer by contributing to the income of the home.
From regular work the children would form regular habits of industry and learn the value of money.
Many of the children are in the psychological period at which gardening is nominally play-work, and under the right system of teaching it will not become burdensome to any.
Garden teaching affords the best kind of nature study teaching.
General school subjects will be vitalized by correlation with gardening and children who have lost interest in learning for learning’s sake will renew interest by having the schools take up a subject in which it is possible to learn and earn through doing. Real interest in school work prevents truancy.
By having regular occupation the pupils will be saved from evils caused by idleness and are less liable to commit Juvenile Court offenses.
Back yards and vacant lots would be cleared and cleaned and home environments improved.
The teaching of methods of planting decorative plants would increase civic pride and city beauty.
A thrifty next generation would be developed who would be proud of Richmond, the city they developed.
Based on the facts collected in this investigation, the following recommendations are made.
Board of Education.”That the Board of Education of Richmond commit itself to the plan of establishing a complete department of Vocational Agricultural Education in the public schools within the next three years. That it be the policy of the Board to require that those who are employed to direct the Vocational Agriculture, adapt their teaching to the needs of the youth of the city. The aim shall be to give the Vocational Agricultural courses to young people of the city of Richmond and those of the surrounding districts who come to the Richmond schools, who wish to take up fanning as a life work. In accomplishing this end, practical projects will include the production of vegetables and small fruits, as well as general farming crops.
Vocational agricultural department.”The city plan of organization is shown on page thirty-one. A teacher who is trained in theoretical and practical agriculture, should be employed to teach in the Vocational Agricultural Department, and also to be the general home garden supervisor. This teacher should be employed for twelve months and his work will involve the teaching of students who wish to study agriculture from a vocational standpoint, and the training, supervising and assisting of teachers of each school district who are associated with him in vocational agricultural work.