What problem did it address, where?
School gardens and hospital gardens are found in many developing countries where areas adjacent to the institution are cultivated with horticultural crops and fruit. These occasionally also include poultry or other small-scale livestock. The best examples of school gardens are usually community-led. An initiative to promote small-scale, community-based projects in support of school gardens can have a significant impact on the level of food security not only for students, but also for other vulnerable members of the community.
In Rwanda, a project has been launched to support the promotion of gardens, farms and nutrition education in primary and secondary schools. In Brazil, in the framework of the SPFS contribution to the Zero Hunger Programme, a project is presently being formulated to support pilot school garden programmes in selected localities as well as the preparation of a national school garden programme to be implemented by the Ministry of Education. In Sri-Lanka, a school garden project has been formulated in cooperation with UNICEF and WFP for the North-Eastern provinces of the country. In South Africa, FAO has worked with the Government to develop a project for school gardens linked to the national school feeding programme targeting 10 000 schools and over two million children. In Nigeria, in the framework of the National Special Programme on Food Security (NSPFS), school gardens and educational activities in selected pilot sites are under preparation with a view to eventual national expansion.
School gardens, both urban and rural, bring benefits to the community by
- increasing the relevance and quality of education for rural and urban children, through active learning and the introduction of practical skills into the curriculum;
- providing schoolchildren with hands-on experience in food production and natural resource management, and new skills and techniques that they can take home to their family farms or household gardens;
- improving student nutrition by supplementing school feeding programmes with fresh nutritious foods rich in micronutrients, and increasing children's knowledge of nutrition to the benefit of the whole family
Other initiatives on school gardens are being developed with linkages to various FAO programmes, such as household food security in Mozambique and emergency rehabilitation assistance in North Korea and Russia.