In 1904, the Cleveland Public Schools began a small school gardening program which quickly expanded into a multi-million dollar, district-wide deal. Generations of schoolchildren participated by growing food, beautifying vacant lots, and learning about the science of gardening. In the 1970s, however, budget cuts spelled the end of most of the gardens.
Benjamin Franklin Elementary School, located in the Cleveland's Old Brooklyn neighborhood, participated in the original gardening program beginning in 1922. Its gardens closed in 1977 when the program was canceled by the district.
In the 1990s, Master Gardeners from the Ohio State University Extension restarted the school's gardening program and also renovated the old garden classroom that had fallen into disrepair after 1977. The Master Gardeners even created a new curriculum for the program and have played a major part in continuing the long tradition of gardening at Benjamin Franklin.