With the Danish NGO Zaher-Grow to Learn, FHF continues to promote organic agriculture among youth and kids through learning gardens. The project entitled “Learning Gardens as a Tool for Development in Lebanon” was launched in June 2019 and aimed “to strengthen the education and involvement of the participating children and youth, to develop their knowledge on nature and its plants and to make them build up capacity and increase their livelihood resilience through the learning garden activities”. The project is supported by CISU – Social Society Fund in Denmark.
The project is implemented in partnership with several local NGOs like Bouzourna Jouzourna (BZJ), SOILS Permaculture Lebanon, and Jibal who worked on designing the gardens and conducting the gardening workshops with FHF in BZJ farm in Saadnayel, Action Aid Arabia (AAAR) centers in Jeb Jennine and Baalbeck and Malaak center in Halba.
Educational activities included workshops on organic, inexpensive methods with respect to traditional, local garden practices, as well as on healthy nutrition, food preservation and environmental awareness.
FHF team who is in charge of the gardening activities in Malaak, conducted twenty workshops in Halba on designing the garden, planting seasonal crops (tomato, cherry tomato, peppers, eggplant, zucchini, cauliflower, romaine lettuce, iceberg lettuce, green cabbage, chicory aka hindbeh), establishing a composting unit, making mouneh, learning about biodiversity, preparing bio-pesticides, etc. Fifteen boys and girls aged between 8 and 12 attended the workshops and participated in planting the garden of the center and taking part of the daily follow-up activities with help from the volunteers and the local coordinator.
Through their active participation in the garden, it is expected that the children and youth will obtain ownership of the gardens while their feeling of responsibility and self-esteem will increase as well. They will learn about inexpensive, organic gardening methods which they can bring back home to their families and communities, and will hopefully be able to improve their food security by increasing food availability all year round. Learning gardens can hence be considered as a coping mechanism in severe food insecurity situations, which develop new skills for the participating kids and youth to enable them to create agricultural spaces in their settlements in Lebanon, and in Syria when back home.