OAD FOODGARDENS Project
The FAO asserts that the swift growth of cities in the developing world is placing higher demands on urban food supply systems and that agriculture including horticulture, livestock, fisheries, forestry and fodder, and milk production – is more and more spreading to towns and cities. This however cannot be mentioned for all African countries.
In Malawi, 700 000 urban residents practice home gardening to meet their food needs and earn extra income. In Lusaka- Zambia, Kampala- Uganda, and Yaoundé- Cameroon, over half of the residents practice urban agriculture to grow their own food including, livestock such as poultry, dairy cattle, and pigs.
Ghana could boast of a past success of the “Operation Feed Yourself” (OFY), which encouraged individual households to engage in backyard farming. The country was able to produce enough food that could feed its population and even export rice in the early seventies. In addition, the Government at the time managed to lift the country from a trade deficit of $56million in 1971 to a trade surplus of $204 million in 1973 all through the success of OFY.
Most of urban Africa gardens/micro-gardens have grown with little interest, regulation and support an example is that of Ghana. Meanwhile, food expenditure accounts for 40% of total household expenditure, while the total value of own-produced food consumed by households represents 10.5% of this figure.
With a unique approach to reviving, repackaging and sustaining interest in backyard/micro-gardens/urban farming with emphasis on vegetable among the citizenry, OAD has designed the “FOODGARDENS” concept with keen interest from top icons in the fields of arts and sports particularly football. The FOODGARDENS concept- a subset of FOODGOALS initiative, which is to be piloted in Ghana and later to other African countries, has received expressions of support, collaboration and encouragement from the Planning and Coordinating Agency of NEPAD, UNESCO, and FAO-UN just to mention but a few.
The “FOODGARDENS” concept is specifically designed to advocate, promote and support household food gardening – to supplement the nutritional needs and economic advantage of families across Ghana and Africa at large. “FOODGARDENS” was inspired in part by the success of “Operation Feed Yourself”, and it is in line with the recently announced “Planting for Food and Jobs” program by the Government of Ghana.
FOODGARDENS [urban agriculture / backyard farming] produce all year-round food at preferable quantities, nutrition (all year round fresh vegetables), serves educational purposes, saves money, creates employment and leisure and enhance household food security. FOODGARDENS [urban agriculture / backyard farming] recycles urban wastes, creates greenbelts, and strengthens cities’ resilience to climate change.
FOODGARDENS [urban agriculture / backyard farming] improves food security by giving healthy and plentiful alternative for purchased food, especially for poor households for example in Kampala- Uganda, urban agriculture has been linked with improved nutritional status in children.
To supplement household food and nutrition to enhance socio-economic lives.
Urban household and Senior High Schools across Ghana to substantially support their annual food consumption through availability of additional produce.
- To undertake nation-wide campaign with top icons who command influence from the field of culture and sports to propagate the importance of FOODGARDENS [urban agriculture / backyard farming], especially among urban dwellers.
- To establish FOODGARDEN Clubs in Basic Schools, Senior High Schools, and the Tertiary levels to encourage, promote the importance and lucrativeness of agriculture, and sustain the interest of students.
- To improve household food security and alleviate micronutrient deficiencies through awareness creation and direct assistance to encourage all year round FOODGARDENS especially among urban dwellers.
- To enhance livelihoods of the youth, by employing FOODGARDENS assistants to aid urban households in the establishment and maintenance of domestic farms across Ghana.
Key activities include:
- Launching of project and establishment of a sample FOODGARDENS at the Flagstaff house.
- Establishment of FOODGARDENS for top celebrities and opinion leaders to sustain interest of the citizenry in urban/backyard farming.
- Embarking on OAD-celebrities Basic School, Senior High School, Tertiary level FOODGARDENS establishment.
- Embarking on OAD-celebrities nationwide FOODGARDENS public campaign in some cities across Ghana.
- Promote media campaigns (adverts and commercials, interview and documentaries, social media etc.).
- Reduction in income of urban households spent on food.
- Reduction in expenditure of Schools spent on providing meals.
- Award category established during farmers day celebration in Ghana to promote the initiative.
- Health benefits resulting from food grown under less harmful conditions e.g. Minimal use of fertilisers etc.