OL 303 Assignment One Discussion
Vegetable Gardens & Community Gardens for Family Nutrition & Food Security


Good morning class and welcome.

Recently, the United Nations announced that world hunger is on the increase and that today more than 1 billion people suffer from hunger. 53% of all deaths of children under five are associated with malnutrition. There are many reasons why people suffer from hunger and in this course, if your community is suffering from hunger, we are going to try and identify the underlying cause.

The theory of change proposed by this course is that home gardens can provide extra nutrition that can help a family become well-nourished, reduce food costs, and even provide modest income.

According to the World Health Organization, ‘in Africa and South East Asia, growing fruits and vegetables in home gardens enables a diverse diet and contributes to better life long health. This is backed by research in South Africa on a home gardening program that was integrated with nutrition education, and focused on the production of yellow and dark green leafy vegetables, significantly improved the vitamin A status of 2 to 5-year-old children in rural villages in South Africa. Home gardens can be both a major household food resource and a source of income’.

For this course we’ve added two links lists; the same general development links list that you had in your previous courses, and a second links list pertaining strictly to the subject of this course. For example the research paper mentioned in the paragraph up of is available there.

There is controversy over whether or not home gardens can make a difference in food security and in overall family nutrition. Proponents and a number of scientific studies promote home gardens positively. Others are bit more cautious about home gardens.

So this week we’re going to read a short paper on food security, and a short paper on family nutrition. Then I’m going to ask you to select three scientific papers on home gardens in the links menu to the left (or feel free to search for different ones on your own) and see what they say about the success of home gardens and under what circumstances do they perform.

Lastly, we’re going to have you approach your community and make an appointment for two weeks from now to have an introductory workshop on nutrition and home gardens with a focus group. During this workshop you will also conduct a simple baseline survey.

By the end of this week you should have a better understanding of the meanings of food security, a beginning understanding of family nutrition, and a better sense of the efficacy of home gardens for nutrition.

Please move on to Assignment One Homework.