Vegetable Gardens and School Canteens – Spring 2023

We have a project to create and develop vegetable gardens and school canteens in two schools – EPP Mahatsara and EPP Andasifahatelo.  Providing the children and their parents with the opportunity to develop knowledge and skills will help ensure food security for these communities.   They also learn about the natural environment and protecting Madagascar’s unique biodiversity.
Students learn about planting according to the season and the rotation of crops.  They successfully grew crops of different vegetables this year including courgettes, potatoes, pineapples, greens and beans.  Parents and teachers were also responsible for breeding and raising rabbits and chickens.  These provide both meat for the school canteens but also fertiliser for the gardens.  A technician maintains the gardens during the school holidays and there are plans to expand the diversity of crops in the future.
Students, teachers and parents have also learnt about market gardening.  The project aims to reduce the amount of slash and burn agriculture through teaching more sustainable agricultural techniques.  Alongside this, the students are learning about the importance of protecting the natural environment and habitat for wildlife.  In December, students visited the Mitsinjo forest project to learn about the unique wildlife in Madagascar.
Since the start of the school year, there has been an increase in the number of students benefitting from the canteens in both schools.  They now provide lunch (rice and vegetables, meat) every day of the week from Monday to Friday to all students who are present.
Students can see the direct correlation between improved agricultural techniques, increasing productivity and full stomachs!  Alongside this, building an understanding of the environmental implications of less productive agriculture will protect wildlife.