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Horticulture and Natural Resources

Candice Shoemaker

Department Head, Professor of Horticulture and Human Health
Office: 2019 Throckmorton

785-532-6949 fax

Area(s) of Specialization:
Horticulture and Human Health: Older adults and gardening for health improvement and maintenance; Youth and gardening for healthy eating and physical activity

View My Curriculum Vitae

Bio Brief

Dr. Candice Shoemaker grew up on a dairy farm and peach orchard near Grand Rapids, Mich. She graduated from Michigan State University with her B.S. in Floriculture in 1978, and then worked in production greenhouse businesses in Washington and Michigan for the next three years. She returned to school, earning a M.S. in Horticultural Therapy from Kansas State University in 1982 and a Ph.D. in Environmental Floriculture from Michigan State University in 1990.  Prior to returning to Kansas State University as a faculty member in 2001, Shoemaker completed a post-doctoral research fellowship with Dr. Diane Relf at Virginia Tech University, had a teaching position in ornamental horticulture at Berry College in Rome, GA, and was the first Director of the School of the Chicago Botanic Garden. She is currently a Professor of Horticulture and Human Health with teaching and research responsibilities.

Dr. Shoemaker currently directs the graduate program in horticultural therapy which consists of campus-based M.S. and Ph.D. programs and an online graduate certificate program. Shoemaker is also involved in the Urban Food Systems specialization in our M.S. program. This novel program is in response to the increase in urban farms and interest in local foods.

Shoemaker’s research program investigates the physical and psychological health benefits of gardening, focusing on children and older adults. Furthermore, this research allows her to work with students and colleagues from across a wide range of disciplines, including kinesiology and human nutrition. She has successfully obtained over $1,500,000 in grant funding to support her research programs.

One of the rewards of Shoemaker’s leadership in research and education in human issues in horticulture and horticultural therapy is invitations to speak around the world, with recent visits to Taiwan, England and Korea. She serves as the Executive Chair of the People Plant Council, an association that promotes communication and research about people plant interactions. In this role she gets to work with people worldwide in planning the biennial International People Plant Symposium and facilitating the publication of the symposium proceedings. She is involved in the American Horticultural Therapy Association, having been a member of the Board of Directors, and currently serves on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Therapeutic Horticulture and chair of the Charles A. Lewis Research in Excellence Award committee.


B.S. Horticulture, Michigan State University, 1978
M.S. Horticulture, Kansas State University, 1982
Ph.D. Horticulture, Michigan State University, 1990

Area of Emphasis

Dr. Shoemaker’s research focuses on gardening for health with a focus on the older adult and children. The ultimate goal with her research on gardening with the older adult is to develop “gardening prescriptions” for sustained or improved physical functioning, psychological well-being, and social interaction for older adults with arthritis. The research in children’s gardening focuses on the effectiveness of gardening as a tool for promotion of healthy living behaviors through fruit and vegetable consumption, increased physical activity, and reduced sedentary behavior. She also has a research interest on the impact of community gardens, local food systems, and farmer’s markets on the health of local communities.


Park, S.A., A.Y. Lee, G.J. Lee, D.S. Kim, W.S. Kim, C.A. Shoemaker, and K.C. Son. 2016. Horticultural Activity Interventions and Outcomes: A Review. Korean J. Hort. Sci. Technol. 34(4):513-527, 2016 http://dx.doi.org/10.12972/kjhst.20160053

Geller, K., M.J. Melbye, R.R. Rosenkranz, C.A. Shoemaker, and D.A. Dzewaltowski. 2015. Measuring elementary-aged children's self-efficacy and proxy efficacy for gardening and related health behaviors. HortTechnology 25:731-741

Park, S.A., C.A. Shoemaker, S. Harms, D. O'Nell, and D.M. Oh. 2015. An eight-week horticultural therapy program for stroke outpatients: A case study. Acta Horticulturae 1093: 61-72

Hammond, D.E. and Shoemaker, C.A. 2014. Are there Differences in Academic and Social Integration of College of Agriculture Master's Students in Campus Based, Online and Mixed Programs? NACTA 58(3): 182-190

Hammond, Danielle, E. and Candice Shoemaker. 2014. The Role of Socialization in Persistence to Complete of College of Agriculture Master's Students, NACTA 58(1): 24-31


Course #:TitleSemesterDelivery Method
HORT 360Public HorticultureSpring**On Campus
HORT 691Urban AgricultureFallOn Campus
HORT 751Human Issues in Horticultural TherapySpring
HORT 752Horticulture in Horticultural TherapySpringDistance
HORT 753Clinical Skills in Horticultural TherapySummerDistance
HORT 755Horticultural Therapy PracticumSummer