'Nutri-garden-2-fork project': catching them young!
We influence children’s consumption of nutritious local green leafy vegetables through hands-on gardening, nutrition education and recipes.
I confirm that I am fully aware of the eligibility criteria, and based on its description, I am eligible to apply to the CSV Prize 2017.
Growth (the pilot has already launched and is starting to expand)
Annual budget in 2017 (USD)
Number of beneficiaries impacted so far
Nonprofit, NGO, or citizen sector
Headquarters location: Country
Headquarters location: City
Location(s) of impact
participants in the maiden edition of Nutri-garden-2-fork project in 2016.
Fun harvesting our fresh and nutritious veggies after 4 weeks of cultivation
Our produce packaged for delivery to a grocery store who agreed to sell our veggies
One of the coordinators posing with the packaged veggies.
proudly showcasing veggie egg prepared by her team
showing off the veggie noodles prepared by her group
2017 Nutri-garden-2-fork participants and volunteers
Slide showing the children the benefits of eating vegetables.
Working together to tend our veggies.
identifying local leafy veggies on a slide
visual identification of the different types of local leafy veggies on the table
completing a nutrition education matching game
Children using fresh veggies from the garden to prepare a sumptuous meal
One of the children watering the vegetables
Gardening activity. Weeding the veggie bed
Children preparing the veggie beds for planting
Problem: What problem is this initiative trying to address?
In Nigeria vegetable consumption, especially local leafy vegetables is low and knowledge of these vegetables is poor among children and adolescents in urban areas. They also have poor dietary habits - high fats, sugars, salts and highly processed simplified carbohydrate diets, which puts them at risk of diet related diseases (micronutrient deficiency, obesity, diabetes, cancers etc.) now and in their adulthood. This trend is rising because of the phenomenon of ‘nutrition transition’ in Nigeria.
Solution Summary: What is the proposed solution? What do you see as its most promising aspects for creating shared value?
Nutri-Garden-2-Fork is based on the urgent need to establish healthy eating during childhood (catch them young); as habits and skills acquired are carried into adulthood. We use gardening, nutrition education and food demonstration to achieve this. Hands-on gardening activities give the children opportunity to appreciate and participate in the processes that lead to production of their own nutritious and fresh local leafy green veggies and as a form of physical activity to stay healthy. Nutrition education using games, videos and role play teach them importance of vegetables for their health, growth and development; to encourage them to make healthy food choices. Food demonstration (cooking activities) enable them participate in preparation and tasting of simple, healthy meals with fresh veggies produced from the garden. This aids children's acceptance and willingness to consume meals with leafy greens; thus becoming change agents to influence healthy eating at home and to peers.
Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Specify both the social and the environmental impact of your work
To date, 41 children have participated in Nutri-garden-2-fork project. Produce harvested from the gardens have not only been used to teach the children improved recipes of their favorite meals, they have also taken the veggies home to their families. Mothers have acknowledged the change and asking behavior of their children with regards to increased acceptance of meals prepared with local vegetables and healthy meals. During the project, children are given vegetable seeds to start their gardens at home. Some families have established vegetable gardens through this means further fostering a culture of nutritious and fresh local leafy vegetable cultivation and consumption. Mothers reported being taught by their children how favorite meals such as noodles and fried eggs can be prepared with local leafy greens. Our project has not only influenced the children directly, it reached their families and friends because of increased knowledge, skill, asking behavior and self-efficacy acquired.
Financial sustainability plan: How is this initiative financially supported? How will you ensure its financial sustainability long-term?
Funding Sources: 50% from personal contributions; 44% from token project participation fees; 6% from sale of veggies at end of project exhibition and in a grocery shop. We presently receive collaborative support from the Teaching and Research Farm, University of Ibadan (provision of free garden space); Department of Human Nutrition, University of Ibadan (provision of classroom and kitchen facilities); and volunteers. We are presently seeking grant funds to expand the initiative to accommodate more children. We are making plans to own a permanent garden space to produce and supply local green leafy veggies to grocery shops in the city all-year round; and generate income for our activities while we provide nutritious and fresh local leafy veggies to nourish the wider community.
Unique value proposition: What makes your initiative innovative? How does your project differ from other organizations working in the same field?
The initiative not only trains children to plant their own veggie gardens through outdoor hands-on gardening activities, it has the added value of training them to positively make healthful food choice, which is expected to be transferred to later adult life for a healthy lifetime. This kind of behavioral model is a powerful creation of shared value that links agriculture, health, and nutritional lifestyle of society’s members.
Founding story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that sparked the beginning of this initiative.
At an early age, I learned how to grow local vegetables in our family garden. This involvement influenced my preference and consumption of local leafy green veggies.
As a nutrition scientist, I found that knowledge and consumption of local leafy vegetables was poor among children in urban areas, coupled with poor dietary habits. Children generally dislike green leafy veggies. I also found that those from households with veggie gardens were more likely to know and consume local leafy veggies. I thought there had to be a way to change the narrative with children.
My ‘Aha’ moment was when I read a research article about a garden project for children that enhanced their fruit and vegetable consumption! I was inspired to design a similar project for children with a focus on local leafy green veggies. We launched the first pilot in August 2016, for five weeks. We are making good progress!
Where did you hear about the Nestlé Creating Shared Value Prize?