The latest addition to the Routledge Earthscan series Issues in Agricultural Biodiversity, the book “Agrobiodiversity, school gardens and healthy diets” puts school gardens front and center. The book critically examines the role of agrobiodiversity in school gardens, along with its contribution to diversifying diets, promoting healthy eating habits and improving nutrition among schoolchildren and their families. Other benefits are explored that relate to climate change adaptation, eco-literacy and greening school spaces.
The book gathers case studies from a mosaic of places and backgrounds (developed and developing countries, rural and urban areas, indigenous communities and international organizations) that shed light on issues such as school feeding, community food production, food culture, and nutrition education, joined together to provide a comprehensive global assessment of school gardens’ benefits and potential. As the accompanying quotes suggest, there is strong enthusiasm for the strengthening and scaling up of these efforts.
With the growth of global nutrition movements, the current emphasis on nutrition-sensitive programming and the value of linking nutrition-specific and nutrition-sensitive interventions, new spaces have opened up for school gardens to grow and educate students. However, despite this growing recognition, the reality is that the longevity of school gardens is a persistent challenge.
If governments or donors do not make significant and continuing financial commitments accompanied by supportive policies, school garden interventions will continue to face significant challenges. Proponents of school gardens must continue to be conscious of, and to plan for this accordingly.