Patient Education CPD Article: Assessment of Food Gardens as a Nutrition Tool in Primary Schools in South Africa
Eating at school is an important part of any student’s day. Not only does it re-energise their minds, but it also fills their bellies and reawakens their bodies for the rest of the day. The problem is that a lot of families in our country can’t afford to feed their children while they are at school. School food gardens can help close this gap and foster a love for food gardening, a positive base from which to build lifelong good nutrition habits. A local study recently looked at the influence of food gardens on nutrition in South African primary schools that participate in the National School Nutrition Programme (NSNP).
A cross-sectional survey was conduced in 10 primary schools in all provinces of the country using a structured questionnaire. Over a third of chosen schools had food gardens, mostly growing a variety of vegetables and some fruits. Half of these gardens produce food produce for over six months of the year, with a third managing to produce enough food for school meals two times or more per week. Challenges cited in the study included lack of funds, tools and infrastructure as well lack of manual and technical support.
School food gardens are a great tool that respondents believed can be used for spreading knowledge of nutrition and food production amongst learners, both young and old. In addition, food gardens also have the potential to improve the nutrition status of children and most importantly reach even further out to the communities that schoolchildren live in. For the CPD article and points, visit link