Rural schools have been the center of the projects of the Health and Environment
Institute from El Bosque University, Bogota, Colombia, as it is thought that
these have the potential to serve as demonstration centers for the community
to know alternatives for a better life, while students can serve as mediators of transmitting knowledge at home what they learn in school. Apulo municipality has 13 rural schools that have on average 10 to 20 students in first through fifth grade, ages 6 to 16 years, one teacher teaches the subjects in each grade to all children in the same classroom, the school has a person responsible for preparing lunch.
All schools receive and prepare the same food; due to the socioeconomic conditions of many families, the food received by children in school becomes the main meal of the day. That is why the opportunity to offer fresh food produced in the school has an important value for the student’s nutrition, can be
a major strengthening in their food.
Analysis, results and implications for policy and/or research Apulo municipality is located in the departament of Cundinamarca has an average temperature of 28
Celsius degrees, an altitude of 400 m.a.s.l., and a population of 8,162 inhabitants of which 59% live in rural areas. The project objective was to implement school gardens in the rural schools of Apulo municipality, the children chose the best place to start assembling the garden, also chose the name.
The size of the vegetable garden was determined by the space and the number of students. All had sufficient space for the seedlings and to plant at least 4 different species of food, among which are the cilantro, cabbage, beans, green beans, carrots, radishes and corn. For the implementation of vegetable gardens a guide has been developed especially designed for children including the different recreational activities: from the preparation of the seedbed and the seeding through the transplant, the watering, plant care and finally harvesting. The gardens were totally organic. The project gave to each school the following basic tools: shovel, rake, watering can, seeds, seedbeds, and a notebook that served as a diary
where students painted all activities and development of plants. As part of the educational materials were also developed posters with information on composting, the vegetable garden development, beneficial insects, pests and diseases. The activity of the vegetable garden had a fixed weekly time allocated for each teacher. This project implemented school vegetable gardens in the 13 schools between the years 2008 to 2010 also were included the composting of all the biodegradable waste produced inside the school, transforming in to an organic fertilizer for the vegetable garden. Seeing the success of this project, the urban school wanted to be part of this and was included at the end of the project. Workshop: Health and Food Security 163 The most important results were:
1. Rural children learn to plant, tend and harvest food.
2. The product of the vegetable garden was used to strengthen food for the children, with healthy and fresh products.
3. When production from the garden was large the products were sold in the community and the money was used to buy more seeds.
4. The teachers used the vegetable garden to teach the various subjects like Science, Math, Writing and Art outside the classroom
5. Some mothers were really engaged with the results, and they have
decided to set up an own vegetable garden at home.
1.The school gardens are an opportunity for rural children learn in schools, performing activities that
are related to their lifestyle
2.Much of the success of this project depends on the motivation of the teacher to do it
3.The project is easy to replicate in other schools especially in rural areas as well as in the parents’
homes The project received financial support from Bayer CropScience and the NGO, “Lazos de Calandaima” Foundation, involving the Municipality Mayor, the school principal, all the teachers, the
kitchen staff and students.