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Why should we have a School Garden?

What are the steps to plan and set-up the garden?

 1. Set the aims
 2. Get support
 3. Decide which classes
 4. Decide what to grow
 5. Find a garden site
 6. Prepare the site
 7. Make an action plan
 8. Put plan to practise
 9. Gardening methods

What can children learn in the garden?
4. Decide what will be grown

What will be grown in the School Garden depends on the aim of garden, the space and water available and the soil quality. You may be able to overcome natural limitations, such as poor soil or long periods without rain, by composting and watering. Nevertheless, you should try to choose plants that are adapted to local ecological conditions. Start with plants that are known to grow well in your region to keep the risk of failure low. Plants that require particular tending can be included later.
Photo by Mel Futter
If your aim is to grow a nutritional garden to improve the children's diet, you should keep this in mind from "plot to pot". For example, before you plant spinach, think about the final product - spinach pie or spinach salad? Think how it will be prepared, how it will taste, the way it will be eaten, will the students like it?. Try to imagine how pupils can learn that these foods keep them healthy and how parents and families can be involved. Discuss the following points with the children, parents and local health workers to gather information and advice:

  • What kind of diet do children need?
  • What are our children eating?
  • What do they need to eat?
  • What can we grow to improve their diet?
  • How should we grow it?
  • How will they eat it? and
  • Will they eat it?
    For more information see "Part 6: What shall we grow to eat?" and "Part 9: How will we eat our garden food?" of the FAO manual "Setting up and running a School Garden - a manual for teachers, parents and communities".

    If you want to create a market garden, start by thinking of possible products that will sell well, and do some market research. Then collect information about each product and draw up a product proposal. For each promising idea, find out:
  • Is there a demand?
  • Who is likely to buy the product and where?
  • What are the customers likely to pay? and
  • When is the best time to sell?

    For more information see "Part 7: What shall we grow to sell?" of the FAO manual "Setting up and running a School Garden - a manual for teachers, parents and communities".

    If you aim to improve the school environment, simple gardening activities can have a high impact on the amenities and students' morale. It may also bring the school some positive publicity. Questions to consider are:
  • What does our school environment need?
  • What can we do to make it better?
  • What is our priority?
  • How do we do it? and
  • Who shall we tell about it and how?

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    Last updated: Saturday, September 30th, 2006  FAO, 2006.