RESULTS FROM A SURVEY ON SCHOOL FOOD GARDENS IN SOUTH AFRICA: PERCEPTIONS OF TEACHERS, LEARNERS AND PARENTS

S.M. Laurie, M. Faber, M.E. Malebana, E. van den Heever
School food gardens can play an important role in teaching learners about gardening concepts and skills with the aim of increasing home production for household food and nutrition security. A cross-sectional survey (funded by the FAO) was conducted in ten schools in each of the nine provinces of South Africa to assess the perceptions on food production by learners, teachers and parents. Structured questionnaires were completed, for each school, of all grade 0 to 7 teachers, the school garden administrator, the volunteer food handler, 30 randomly selected grade 5 to 7 learners and 10 parents. Of the 2546 learners that completed the questionnaire, 77% indicated that their school had a food garden, while 68% indicated that their families grew vegetables/fruit at home. Learners predominantly perceived garden work to be fun (57%). Just over 50% of learners were involved in school garden activities, and of these, 56% talked at home of what they had learned at the school food garden. According to the garden administrators (n=55) garden produce was mostly taken home by learners (85%). Of the teachers (n=683), 96% perceived school food gardens as a means to improve children’s health. Two thirds of schools integrated gardening into the curriculum, predominantly in life orientation (82%), but also in natural sciences (46%) and reading (35%). In addition, just over 40% of parents (n=704) detected behavioural change in their children (e.g., taking part in home gardens and passion for gardening) since involvement in school food gardens, with 42% indicating that learners talked about the school garden activities at home. It was concluded that learners and teachers were positive about school food gardening, and that information flow on school garden activities occurred from learners to parents. More efforts should be made to strengthen school-based food gardens and their integration into the curriculum.
Laurie, S.M., Faber, M., Malebana, M.E. and van den Heever, E. (2013). RESULTS FROM A SURVEY ON SCHOOL FOOD GARDENS IN SOUTH AFRICA: PERCEPTIONS OF TEACHERS, LEARNERS AND PARENTS. Acta Hortic. 1007, 681-687
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2013.1007.79
https://doi.org/10.17660/ActaHortic.2013.1007.79
cross-sectional survey, curriculum, national study, school nutrition
English

Acta Horticulturae