Our demonstration gardens reduce reliance on chemical pesticides and fertilizers while increasing agricultural productivity and providing better nutrition. This project works with 5 primary schools in Cameroon schools to develop self-sufficient, climate-resilient, earth-friendly gardens to inspire the next generation of farmers. The produce, seeds, knowledge, and skills produced will help the whole community eat more nutritiously with less work for years to come.
More than half of Cameroon school children are deficient in multiple nutrients, including those necessary for effective learning. Most help on the family farm, where the long hours and hard work diminish the quality of life for parents and children alike and keep some of the children from receiving a full education. Overuse or misuse of pesticides degrades both human health and the environment. Many youth abandon agriculture for a life of unemployment in crime-ridden city slums.
The crops will grow crops with high nutritional value using modern, organic farming techniques, to harvest and eat at school and take some home to their families. Learning why each crop was selected and how it needs to be planted and nurtured becomes part of science and math classes. Developing recipes for them enhances research, writing and math skills. A Harvest Fair at the end of the year shares their knowledge with the community, offers a lesson in entrepreneurship, and generates income.
Because the children learn how to bank seeds and the Harvest Fair generates income for tools and supplies, the gardens become self-sustaining after 3 years, providing an ongoing source of solid nutrition. Because the children share with their families seeds and techniques for more productive, less labor-intensive crops, the children will be less likely to be required to work on the family farm instead of going to school, and more likely to choose to stay and farm after graduation.