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FAO's conceptual understanding of School Gardens

What does a national School Garden programme need?

How do School Gardens relate with other child and youth-centred interventions?

What assistance does FAO offer?

Partnerships

 What does a national School Garden programme need?
Not every school has sufficient financial, physical and human resources to implement a School Garden. There may also be insufficient time available to set-up and run a garden.

Therefore, the official integration of school gardening into the national school curriculum and a firm political commitment are usually needed to ensure the sustainable implementation of School Gardens.
FAO photo/Telefood/Djibril Sy
A retired farmer helps children with gardening, planting and harvesting.
National School Garden programmes, as well as pilot programmes, need to include the following elements:

Close cooperation between Ministries of Education, Agriculture and Environment, to oversee the programme planning and implementation. Clear institutional arrangements should be sought between cooperating Ministries. Other relevant partners (NGOs, private sector, etc.) should be involved in the programme.
Preparation of practical learning materials for students (textbooks and visual aids) and corresponding teacher's guides for the integrated teaching of gardening and related subjects (examples of learning materials may be available in your country).
Training of teachers in the planning and management of School Gardens and the use of integrated teaching (combining academic school subjects with gardening subjects). Volunteers can eventually be included in these training sessions. Training should be comprehensive (i.e. about 1-2 weeks).
Regular visits to a newly trained teacher during the set-up of their School Garden. Periodical meetings of teachers involved in gardening for information exchange and peer-to-peer learning.
A reliable source of technical advice on developing and managing a garden (e.g. from Farmers Field School facilitators, farmers' organizations, local agricultural extension services NGOs and National Programme for Food Security personnel).
Initial budgetary support for developing a School Garden (e.g. vegetable seeds, seedlings, fencing, garden tools, irrigation, etc.) The upkeep of a School Garden may also require financial support.
Support home gardens to apply the newly acquired gardening skills and nutritional knowledge at the children's homes.
Adequate monitoring, evaluation, adjustment and gradual expansion of the programme.
The programme should include incentives for engaging the local community in the development and management of the School Garden.
Last updated: Saturday, September 30th, 2006  FAO, 2006.