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School gardens growing in Indonesia

In 2019, the country will establish 2,300 school gardens in 33 provinces to teach children about the importance of nutrition and healthy diets.

Rinna and a colleague in one of the original pilot school gardens in Batang, Central Java.

Good news from WorldVeg partner Rinna Syawal in Indonesia, who announced that in 2019, the country will establish 2,300 school gardens in 33 provinces to teach children about the importance of nutrition and healthy diets.

Rinna, Deputy Director of Planning, Agency of Food Security, Ministry of Agriculture, Ibu Suli, Director of General Services and Procurement, Ministry of Agriculture and their colleagues participated in Vegetables Go to School (VGtS), a multidisciplinary school-based project funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation from 2014-2017 in Indonesia, Nepal, Bhutan and Burkina Faso.

Together with a team of international researchers from the World Vegetable Center, the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, and Freiburg University, Germany, the Indonesia Country Team aimed to address malnutrition among children through a comprehensive school garden program. In the pilot phase, 30 schools participated in the project.

VGtS incorporated hands-on gardening activities and demonstrations to hold students’ interest, along with messages about good nutrition and Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) practices. Students’ families also received information about nutrition and hygiene, and were encouraged to set up home gardens as well.

Communities were linked to the school garden activities through FSA’s Sustainable Homeyard Garden program, which involves local women’s groups. The women’s groups supplied seeds and seedlings, technical advice and support to school garden activities. Agricultural extension workers also provided technical support for school and home gardens. Ultimately, entire communities became involved in growing nutritious and diverse vegetables for home consumption, leading to improved nutritional well-being and local agricultural and community development.

“We’re excited that the Indonesia Country Team is scaling up the school garden program,” said Dr. Ray-yu Yang, VGtS Project Manager. “VGtS sought to demonstrate the value of school gardens to raise awareness of the components of a healthy diet among children, their families, and the community at large. Clearly, the VGtS pilot was a success.”

Raised beds make gardening easier for everyone.

Photos: Rinna Syawal

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Finding room for different vegetable crops in the Batang School Garden, Central Java.

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