'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.

Photo of Shirley
18 13

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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.

  • Yes, I'm eligible

Preferred language

  • English

Organization name


Year founded


Initiative stage

  • Growth (the pilot has already launched and is starting to expand)

Annual budget in 2017 (USD)

  • Less than $1k

Number of beneficiaries impacted so far

  • 100 - 250

Organization type

  • Nonprofit, NGO, or citizen sector

Secondary Focus Area

  • Nutrition

Headquarters location: Country

  • Nigeria

Headquarters location: City


Location(s) of impact

Nigeria: Ibadan

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?

  • Other

Attachments (1)


This document is about the whole process of training the children to grow their vegetables to the preparation of the meals with the produce.


Join the conversation:

Photo of Ariyo Oluwaseun

This is a laudable project designed to catch the children young and promote healthy food behaviour, healthy food choice and build capacity for own vegetable production. This is particularly necessary in developing countries where children are increasingly exposed to poor food environment and recommended intake of fruits and vegetables is rarely met. This project deserves support and it is necessary to scale it up. The lesson delivery is achieved in an exciting and captivating way to sustain participants attention and commitment. This project has my vote.

Photo of Shirley

thank you for your encouraging comments

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