Learning gardens: providing education and healthy food!

During spring 2020, the first edition of the “Agrobiodiversity, School Gardens and Healthy Diets: Promoting Biodiversity, Food and Sustainable Nutrition” book was published online.  

The book which gathers contributions from around the world (Lebanon, Australia, Vietnam, Hawaii, Philippines, India, Nepal, Morocco, etc.) will be available for free download and dissemination in December 2020.

The book assesses the role of biodiversity in promoting and enhancing diversified and healthy diets among schools children; it also identifies the encountered challenges and the key criteria for success. The seventh case-study more particularly, highlights the role of learning gardens in enhancing the diet of Syrian children and youth in Lebanon. Author Nina Lauridsen, talks about the importance of learning gardens established in Lebanon by Danish NGO Zaher-Grow to learn in partnership with local NGOs like the Food Heritage Foundation, Juzurna Buzurna and SOILS Permaculture Lebanon. Through these gardens, stigmatized children and youth not only have their capacity built on sustainable gardening (including organic agriculture and permaculture concepts), but also find a place to recreate and produce their own food. On another hand, this kind of project ensures the transmittance of knowledge and farming to young generations and prevents its loss.

Late 2019, FHF together with its partners, and with support from CISU – Civil Society in Development, designed and implemented new learning gardens in Akkar and Bekaa. Although the October revolution followed by the Covid-19 pandemic have impaired the activities under the project “Learning Gardens as a Tool for Development in Lebanon”, the gardens are still being maintained by the partners hoping that the gardens will receive the children soon again.  

Our garden projects

Sustainable Urban Farming at Sky Towers

Planting of winter crops in the raised garden beds within the Sky Towers greenhouse

In the midst of the multiple crises Lebanon is going through, achieving food security for urban dwellers has become a priority. However, it’s important that this food is produced in a sustainable way that preserves natural resources and boosts biodiversity.

Gardening beds being prepared

Back in June 2020, FHF in collaboration with ESDU and CIBCO (Real Estate Beirut) initiated work on a sustainable urban farming project in the Sky Towers residential complex in New Doha. The project aims to  showcase sustainable farming in an urban setting, and includes different farming components such as the production of fresh fruits and vegetables, aromatic plants, free-range egg production and compost.

FHF team assessing the site in the early stages of the project

The sustainable project will also involve hiking trails in the pine forest around the complex and is expected to offer workshops on permaculture and organic production to amateurs. The residents of the towers will not only have access to healthy greens, but will also contribute to compost making by sorting their trash after receiving a training from FHF experts.

The sustainable urban farming project is expected to be completed in early 2021.

Clearing of debris in the pine forest on the project site
Composting unit on the project site
Public seating area in the pine forest surrounding Sky Towers
Gravel path leading to the entrance of one of the greenhouses
Raised garden beds in between Sky Towers and the greenhouse
Greenhouse vegetable garden on the project site
Sustainable gardening beds on the project site
ESDU agricultural engineer Towfik Gharzedine looking after the greenhouse vegetable garden
Plant irrigation system on the project site
Organic tomatoes growing in the greenhouse
Green chili peppers growing in the greenhouse