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From plot to plate – a ‘kitchen garden’ story

Kitchen gardens sprouting food safety and peace of mind for vulnerable communities and not only


26 Nov 2014

In its simplest form, a kitchen garden produces fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs for delicious, healthy meals.

Research suggests that kitchen gardens can supply up to half of all non-staple food needs, as well as a significant number of vitamins and minerals. This makes them an invaluable tool for food security in vulnerable communities.

‘Imagine one day you lost everything you owned.  Not only that, but you also lost your livelihood, your ability to feed yourself and your family. This is what happened to Shazadi, a Pakistani woman whose home was destroyed in a flood in 2012, along with the crops on four acres of land her husband Abdul Nabi rented for farming. Shazadi and Abdul have eight children, and they were unsure how they were going to provide for them.

Fortunately, Shadazi was one of 2 500 women in the area targeted by FAO for post-flood support through a kitchen gardening programme.

For Shazadi, within a month from starting her garden, plants began bearing fruit, first tomatoes and onions, and then okra. She produced enough vegetables for her family to use for three months, which saved her family 9 000 Rupees in food expenses. She was also able to put 60 kilograms of onions in storage for future use.

In addition to growing food for her family, Shazadi was able to sell some of the vegetables she’d  grown. By the end of the season, her household  had earned about 14 000 Rupees.’

Kitchen gardens are sprouting not only in vulnerable communities but also within major metropolises. Today, they are appearing  in the balconies, verandas and terraces of apartments.

If you are thinking of replicating this success in your own backyard or apartment block ask yourself this:

  • What are my garden goals?
  • How many people do I want to feed?
  • How much food do I want to produce?
  • Over what period of time? and;
  • What type of food do I want to cultivate?

Once you have your answers you can start!
For more information, take a look at our recent publications on vegetable gardens:

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