School farms in the Philippines

One of the biggest challenges for school gardeners in northern places like Toronto is the big W: winter. How are we supposed to use the garden as a teaching tool (let alone a provider of food for lunch) when half the school year it’s covered in snow—and the other half the kids aren’t in class? There are lots of resources, of course, including this list from the ever-awesome Evergreen about crops that can be planted in spring and harvested before school’s out for the summer. Essentially, it’s a matter of getting creative with what we have.

In the Philippines, the greatest obstacle to school gardening isn’t cold weather (of course, typhoons and flooding present their own unique challenges). And gardening or not isn’t an option. Born out of necessity following the Second World War, Philippine school gardens are more rightly called farms.

In their beautiful blog, Eating Asia, journalist Robyn Eckhardt and photographer David Hagerman reveal how at one school, schoolchildren not only prep the land, tend and harvest the growing vegetables, they do everything in between. For their efforts, the children get to bring some of the produce home and learn essential skills, including respect for the farmers who grow the rest of their food.

The take-home veggies are especially welcome in a country where a third of the population of 90 million lives on less than $1 (US) a day and, according to the FAO, 15% of people are undernourished.


Photo by David Hagerman. Check out more of his images at Eating Asia


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