Getting enough food for a healthy and active life is a distant dream for many school-going children in the arid and semi-arid regions of Kenya. The Integrated Community Organization for Sustainable Empowerment and Education for Development (ICOSEED), through its Vegetable Gardening Project, is working with schools in these areas to brighten the outlook for these children. The gardening project supplements the government’s school feeding program by adding vegetables and fruits grown by the students to the menu.
In 2010, the Monsanto Fund supported ICOSEED and its partners, and support continued in 2011 through a $195,000 grant. A technology resource kit was provided for each school and contained inputs and resources needed to build and maintain a quarter-acre garden under drip irrigation. The ICOSEED vegetable garden project has grown from 50 schools in 2010 to 125 schools today.
The project uses the school gardens as a platform to encourage the wider community to address their local food security and nutritional needs. The concept has been well-received in the community, with 23 other schools independently starting their own vegetable gardens.