When will every school in developing countries have a school garden ?



Back to School: Local school gardens help kids

There are several school gardens in the Marathon County area and it could be helping your kids more than you think. The National Gardening Association found that school gardens will help students eat more fruits and vegetables and improve their social skills by working with others.

The Hatley Elementary School and Community Garden has expanded over past couple of years and more recently the school received a grant to purchase a green house helping kids like Caleb Breyton even more.

“I like to pull weeds and I like to pick the plants,” said Caleb Breyton in the garden.

The fifth grader works hard as he gets his knees and hands dirty while picking green beans and other veggies. Caleb not only likes to garden, but enjoys eating the growing plants too. Since being in the garden he says he has eaten more veggies and found a new produce he loves, which is kale.

The 4th graders start by growing seeds in the green house and then in June students will move what they’ve grown into the garden. All grades K-5 will work with the produce. It’s something Fischer says helps them learn even more than staying in the classroom.

Read the full article: WSAW

More trees, more food security, less water crisis


Photo credit: Down to Earth

Life in drylands is precarious and to make things worse water availability in these areas is expected to decline due to changes in climate and land use Credit: Paul Shaffner/Flickr

Increasing tree cover in drylands can ensure food security, solve water crisis

The world’s drylands must be restored as they provide habitat for biodiversity, protect against erosion, help combat desertification and contribute to soil fertility

A Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) preliminary study speaks about the importance of trees and forest coverin dryland areas as these ensure food security for millions of people threatened by climate change.

Drylands cover about 41 per cent of the Earth’s surface and face the problem of water scarcity. People living in drylands, especially in the developing countries, depend on forests, wooded lands, grasslands and trees to meet their basic requirements.

The world’s drylands must be restored as they provide habitat for biodiversity, protect against erosion, help combat desertification and contribute to soil fertility.

According to Nora Berrahmouni, drylands forestry officer at FAO, “Trees contribute to food security. So, increasing their density in forests is very important. It is important to increase their density in drier areas, keeping in mind the local conditions. However, this does not mean that we should convert natural grasslands into forests. Grasslands are equally important as forests.”

Water shortage in drylands

Life in drylands is precarious and to make things worse water availability in these areas is expected to decline due to changes in climate and land use, the report says.

Read the full article: Down to Earth

Farmers’ understanding of agroforestry and drip irrigation.


Drip irrigation system to water seeds at the bottom of the bamboo tube with protective covering. Photo: World Agroforestry Centre/Amy Lumban Gaol – http://blog.worldagroforestry.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/Drip-system.jpg

Surviving the long dry season in Konawe Selatan with improved farming systems

Farmers in Indonesia are more optimistic about surviving the increasingly long dry seasons because the World Agroforestry Centre is improving their understanding of agroforestry and drip irrigation.

By Amy Lumban Gaol

Up until recently, for farmers in Konawe Selatan, Kendari District, Southeast Sulawesi Province, Indonesia their understanding of agroforestry was to mix trees and crops together in the home garden with little or no planning or management. The results were not optimal: little or no yields and failed plantings. The farmers were unaware that there were techniques that could be followed in mixing crops, for example, calculating the specific distance between particular species of tree, the suitability of plants for combination and where to plant them in relation to one another.

The situation had been further challenged by a prolonged dry season that caused the failure of many crops, leading farmers to experience difficult times with low incomes and very limited water. With temperatures over 37 degrees and no rain for almost half the year, many crops died. And if the farmers were able to water their crops, the water would evaporate in minutes, leaving the plots as if they hadn’t been watered for months.

To help farmers meet these challenges, the Agroforestry and Forestry in Sulawesi (AgFor) project team has been working to improve farmers’ knowledge of drip irrigation and agroforestry techniques. AgFor is funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development, Canada and the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry. After two years of operation in Kolaka Timur and Konawe in Southeast Sulawesi, AgFor started in Konawe Selatan and Kota Kendari in 2014. Konawe Selatan has two sub-districts, Lalembuu and Wolasi, in which seven villages participate actively in AgFor.

Read the full story: Agroforestry World


Supply legume seeds and fertilizer tree seedlings: farmers enjoying benefits and keen to scale up


Photo credit: Agroforestry World

Jane Achieng displays bean varieties at Piny Oyie market at the Suna West site, Kenya. Photo by Danyell Odhiambo/ICRAF

In Kenya, farmers see early rewards from adding legumes and trees to their farms


Less than a year after supplying farmers with legume seeds and fertilizer tree seedlings, the Legume CHOICE project team caught up with farmers and traders in Kisii and Migori counties of Kenya. The farmers were already enjoying the benefits and were keen to scale up.

Legume crops like beans and peas (known collectively as pulses when dry) are a versatile and affordable source of protein and other important nutrients. A mainstay of vegetarian diets, legumes play a critical role in meeting the protein needs of people who cannot access animal proteins such as meat and eggs.

The Legume CHOICE project is supplying farmers with their choice of seeds of beans and other legumes, which they grow for home consumption and sale. In addition, the farmers receive advice on how to grow the legumes and on better land management, part of which is growing useful trees and shrubs. In this way, the project aims to fully realise the potential of legumes to improve diets and livelihoods of people practicing mixed crop-livestock farming in East & Central Africa.  It is currently active in Kenya, Ethiopia, and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo).

Climbing beans (Vigna sesquipedalis), one of the species being distributed under Legume CHOICE, can grow to a height of 3.5 metres and produce up to 4 tonnes per hectare, which is double the yield of common beans. “This makes climbing beans ideal for farmers with small plots,” explains Maurice Shiluli, a researcher with Kenya Agriculture and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO).

Read the full article: Agroforestry World


If the Great Green Wall in Africa was made with the spineless prickly pear, it would have already been completed (24 articles to convince responsible people).


Photo credit: WVC 2006-12-OPUNTIA-04_2 – Algiers

Massive spineless prickly pear (Opuntia ficus-indica var. inermis) in one of the suburbs of Algiers.

Far more better than any tree to halt desertification (and it’s edible !)

Delicious fruit of the spineless prickly pear.  Imagine all the children in the drylands. – Photo WVC 47138_1614376158662_1214065827_1705718_7687748_n



Atriplex canescens and Opuntia ficus indica (prickly pear) – (in Spanish).



Utilización de Atriplex canescens y Opuntia ficus indica en la alimentación de cabras lactantes durante la sequía.

Jorge Urrutia-Morales, Héctor Guillermo Gámez-Vázquez, Sergio Beltrán-López, Marta Olivia Díaz-Gómez


DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15517/am.v25i2.15431


El objetivo del presente estudio fue evaluar el efecto del Atriplex (Atriplex canescens) y nopal (Opuntia ficus indica) en la alimentación de cabras lactantes y la producción de leche durante la sequía. Durante los meses secos, entre mayo y agosto de 2005 y entre mayo y junio de 2006, se realizaron tres experimentos en la región semiárida de San Luis Potosí, México. En el primero, se probaron dos tratamientos: CO) mantenidas en confinamiento y alimentación controlada (n=10) y AT) mantenidas en pastoreo con Atriplex (n=10). En el segundo se aplicaron dos tratamientos: AT) Atriplex (n=5) y NP) Atriplex más nopal (n=5). En el tercero tres tratamientos: AT) Atriplex (n=5), NP-1,0) Atriplex más 1,0% de nopal (n=4) y NP-1,5) Atriplex más 1,5% de nopal (n=5). En el primer experimento las cabras mantuvieron su peso, pero la producción de leche se redujo al 30% bajo confinamiento y menos del 8,0% en Atriplex al final del experimento. En el segundo, las cabras perdieron peso, a pesar de que la producción inicial de leche fue menor de 300 g/d. Las alimentadas con Atriplex redujeron su producción a casi la mitad de la producción inicial, mientras que la inclusión de nopal mantuvo la producción relativamente estable. En el tercer experimento, las cabras alimentadas con Atriplex mantuvieron el peso corporal, pero después de siete semanas la producción de leche fue del 25% de la producción inicial, a pesar de que esta fue de apenas 300 g diarios. En cambio, en las cabras suplementadas con nopal, la producción sólo se redujo al 45 y 64% de la producción inicial. Estos resultados son importantes para los caprinocultores de la región semiárida de México, donde las cabras podrían mantener una buena condición corporal, además de una producción de 150 a 250 g diarios de leche durante la época crítica utilizando Atriplex y nopal.

Practical data on the spineless prickly pear (in French)


Photo credit: François Drouet

Quelques informations pratiques sur le Figuier de Barbarie (Opuntia ficus-indica)


Auteur : François Drouet

Article publié en 2007
Crédit photographies : François Drouet
Tous droits réservés

Je fournis ci-après quelques informations issues de ma pratique du Figuier de Barbarie (Opuntia ficus-indica (L.) Mill.) : culture, rusticité, consommation des fruits. Je termine l’article par des considérations sur d’autres oponces.

Opuntia ficus-indica : bouturage d’un fruit encore vert (les aréoles de la partie enterrée ont émis des racines, celles de la partie supérieure ont émis deux raquettes) – http://www.fruitiers-rares.info/articles99a104/Opuntia-ficus-indica-bouture-de-fruit-01.jpg


Variétés d’Opuntia ficus-indica

L’espèce est à réserver aux régions de zone climatique USDA 9a ou supérieure. Dans une situation abritée, on peut tenter la culture en zone climatique USDA 8b.

Mes plantations sont situées dans une vaste plaine du littoral méditerranéen, dans la région de Toulon (zone climatique USDA 9a). Elles sont exposées plein sud.

Il faut retenir en priorité la variété inerme à fruits oranges, qui paraît particulièrement rustique et qui n’est pas agressive car (presque) sans épines. Les aréoles, aussi bien sur les raquettes que sur les fruits, sont toutefois pourvues de glochides brunâtres qui se détachent facilement et s’accrochent fortement dans la peau.

J’en possède trois pieds bien établis (2,5 m de haut sur 3 m de large) répartis sur des parcelles différentes.