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.