Why learning gardens are effective of educational and psycho-social support

In a learning garden, children and everyone else involved e.g. volunteers, project managers, and teachers can learn about the source of their food, and gain knowledge on how to grow their own crops through inexpensive and sustainable methods. Nature in cities can play a key role in achieving a healthy society, and enables its members, both  collectively as well as individually, to benefit in ways that would not otherwise be possible.

Learning gardens have proven to be valuable tools to increase one’s life satisfaction, promote healthier eating habits, appreciate locally grown food sources, teach environmental management, promote teamwork and cooperation, encourage community and social development, as well as provide a sense of place (Rutgers 2013; Soga, Gaston and Yamaura, 2017; Ohly et al., 2016). Furthermore, learning gardens can offer several additional advantages to the people involved such as: employment, as older/former participants with time obtain skills to undertake the training of new participants, and entrepreneurship oppurtunities, e.g. producing salable goods from the learning gardens’ crops and flowers.

Studies have shown that children gain confidence and self-esteem through school gardening, and showed that developing and maintaining the gardens gave the children the opportunity to demonstrate ownership and responsibility (Ohly et al., 2016). Additionally, evidence shows that regular contact with nature and spending time in a garden is beneficial for health and can improve physical, psychological, and social health and wellbeing, which can, from a long-term perspective, alleviate and prevent various health issues (Soga, Gaston and Yamaura, 2017).

Thus, Zaher believes that offering learning garden activities to underprivileged children and youth in Lebanon serves as a strong means of empowerment, and in the creation of social and physical environments that promote good health and well-being. Involvement in a learning garden adds new skills and valuable experiences to their lives, which invokes self-esteem and knowhow they can benefit from in other spheres of life as well; here and now, as well as in the future.

The Benefits

  • Be a means of inclusion of local children in local community work
  • Educate the children involved on traditional, organic and inexpensive methods of gardening, plant, biological processes, environmental awareness and nutrition
  • Enable extra-curriculum learning opportunities to bring the children new perspectives
  • Add valuable experiences to the everyday life of the children, that empowers them with self-esteem and know-how to be used in other spheres of life
  • Create social and physical environments that promote good health and well-being
  • Establish a space that bridges the gap between Lebanese and Syrian children. As the children get to participate in shared activities, the learning gardens facilitate a common third between the children.
  • Have therapeutic effect and be experienced as a safe space for the participants
  • Reach a broad scope of people, as other ad-hoc activities can take place at the site
  • Give crops for produce that the participants can bring home or to be used for nutritious cooking at the field site

Donate today

To make the gardens alive, we need your support. Gardening doesn’t cost a lot – which is why your donation, big or small, can be a turning point for the establishment of more learning gardens. Any kind donation makes a huge difference for our ability to let more gardens come alive in Lebanon. We are a small organization, running 100% non-profit and by volunteering efforts only. Donations will go directly to the projects.