School gardens: towards a healthy future in Armenia
30 November 2021
The UN's World Food Programme and the Social and Industrial Foodservice Institute celebrated the winner of the “Best Mini Garden in Armenia" competition.
School N3 in Vanadzor won the competition that the World Food Programme (WFP), together with partners, launched in April to generate interest in setting up school gardens across the country. The school came in first for their ability to use the garden as an education platform as well as involving the children in planning, maintaining and nurturing the garden. All 33 schools that entered the competition received a certificate of appreciation for taking part.
Since 2020, WFP has established 19 greenhouses, 16 intensive orchards, and 9 intensive berry gardens across the country to complement school meals and enable the schools to generate income to maintain and expand their school feeding schemes.
“The mini-agricultural projects are an important component of school feeding. In 2020, WFP and the Government of Armenia launched Transformative School Feeding, which transformed schools into vehicles to speed up national progress towards food security,” said WFP Representative and Country Director in Armennia, Jelena Milosevic. “With this approach, schools have access to fresh fruits and vegetables to cook healthy and nutritions meals every day. The school gardens are also learning centres that motivate children to continue their studies in the field of agribusiness.”
More than 80 applications from schools were received and were assessed by six local and international organizations together with the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture, and Sport have formed the Committee. The schools were judged on their ability to use the gardens as an education platform, and involve the children in planning, maintaining, and nurturing the garden.
School gardens are gaining prominence worldwide. Due to their interdisciplinary and multi-sectoral nature, they promote a healthy diet, nutritional and environmental education that can change dietary habits, as well as develop lifelong skills.