Benefits of Starting a School Farm

Students and teachers of Cape Coast School for the Deaf started a school garden in 2004. The school uses different gardening practices, traditional and modernized, to grow vegetables. Cucumbers, peppers, lettuce, okra, eggplants, onions, tomatoes, and cabbages are grown in-ground and within raised beds and EarthBoxes.

This new vegetable garden was a platform to undertake the practical component of the Ghana Education Service curriculum, which they’re pursuing. As part of the learning activities they compared the rate of growth of the vegetables growing in the soil with those growing in containers and concluded that the plants grew faster in EarthBoxes.

The school garden has since expanded to become a school farm. Students added the rearing of pigs, rabbits and grasscutters (above picture) to their activities. The school garden became a popular site for field trips by other schools and new friendships were being fostered. The agricultural science teachers of the school were linked with counterpart teachers in the United States through e-mail and webcast so they could exchange ideas.

Teachers helped students to look for best markets for their produce during harvest time. Some of the vegetables found their way into the school kitchen where all students could enjoy them. Most of the produce (including some piglets) were sold and a portion of the profits shared among members of the Agro-Youth club at the school. During a special Parent-Teacher Association event students were recognized with cash prizes for their activities.

Cape Coast School for the Deaf is an excellent example of how starting a school farm with TGC, using both traditional and modern growing practices, can benefit the lives of the participants involved. First is the academic acquisition of knowledge and skills and competencies that may prove crucial for sustainable livelihoods in the future; secondly, the benefit of having access to healthy food; thirdly, earning cash from selling produce; and finally, new friendships can be fostered between local and international neighbors.

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