Encouraging consumption of locally available and diverse fruits and vegetables
The booklet opens with basic nutrition information derived from national guidelines, a summary of local diet quality and consumption levels of fruits and vegetables found in the baseline assessment, and recommendations on how to improve diet quality with local agrobiodiversity. To increase the quantity and variety of fruits and vegetables in the diet, the booklet suggests simple interventions from farm to fork, such as using the calendar to plan the home garden to have fresh fruits and vegetables all year round and using them to add colour to traditional dishes. Simple graphics help communicate these concise and simple take-away messages.
The booklet folds out as a poster with seasonal calendars specific to each site, showing the availability of fruits and vegetables in each month. The species are indicated with local names and easily recognizable pictures that have been verified by communities. The calendar categorizes local fruits and vegetables into the UN Food and Agriculture Organization Minimum Dietary Diversity for Women food groups, to distinguish species with unique nutritional contributions to the diet, thereby providing basic information on the importance of dark green leafy vegetables, vitamin A-rich fruits and vegetables, and other fruits and vegetables. The poster encourages consumption of fruits and vegetables from different groups for more diverse, healthy and nutritious diets.
Colourful and lively, the booklet can also be easily adapted, modified and scaled-out to many different contexts. Not only is the seasonal availability calendar useful for local community members but it can also be a tool for decision-makers. As this booklet builds on national materials, it can be adopted by local governments and regional bodies responsible for developing food dietary guidelines. This has already happened in Mali, where national food-based dietary guidelines did not exist. Working with local partners, we developed the nutrition information provided in the seasonal availability calendar booklet and, after review, it was approved and endorsed by the national nutrition department. The booklets are currently being disseminated back to the communities that helped draft them.
Download the Seasonal Food Availability Booklet