As part of the Spring Into Action campaign running from April 16 – May 1, we will be posting daily about topics related to extreme poverty and how anyone and everyone can join the movement to end it.
Earlier this week, we discussed how malnutrition affects those living in extreme poverty. There are two aspects to malnutrition. One of them is not getting enough food, which can lead to stunted growth, increased risk of infection, and even death. The other aspect is hidden hunger, or when someone is not constantly hungry, but lacks food variety. One way that CHOICE Humanitarian combats malnutrition is through our agricultural programs.
Family gardens are relatively small plots of land that contain more food variety than a commercial farm. The variety component is critical, as the gardens supply important foods and nutrients for families. In addition to foods, gardens can provide spices, medicine, fodder, fuel, and income.
The gardening methods taught by CHOICE Humanitarian focus on using less water, which is critical as many rural villages do not have access to water needed for a typical garden. The gardens take less space but still provide year-round abundance for both the table and the market. Having the ability to feed yourself and your family is the beginning of true self-reliance.
Cultural preservation is important to the work CHOICE does, which is why we also train farmers to grow plants with little to no world market value, but that hold importance in regards to nutrition, local food culture, and/or religion.
CHOICE Humanitarian helps families discover what foods they can grow to improve nutrition and health. We also provide skills training and small packets of seeds to grow the fruits and veggies chosen by the family. Our skilled in-country teams know what nutritional deficiencies are common in regions, and works to ensure family gardens contain necessary nutrients.
When families are healthy and self-reliant, they are more productive in many ways. Children miss fewer school days and learn better in their classes. Adults can work longer and harder, impacting their income. Infants are less prone to dying from malnutrition. Success leads to more success as additional income is used to complete community development projects. It’s crazy to think about how some leafy greens in a garden can end poverty, but they do.
As you think about the importance of having access to adequate nutrients and food, consider sharing this blog for your friends and family to read!