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SIEF2011 10th Congress: Lisbon, Portugal.
17-21 April 2011


Food from kindergartens

Location Tower A, Piso 3, Room 303
Date and Start Time 18 Apr, 2011 at 11:30


Roman Lenz (University of Applied Sciences) email
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Short Abstract

Gardening can be seen as a basic educational issue in human lives. Urbanisation, especially, has led to an increasing distance from primary production. Hence, a re-introduction of gardening into daily life, starting in kindergartens and school, seems to be necessary.

Long Abstract

Education in food issues is in a miserable situation. Gardens in educational facilities could help, but need examples. The cultivation of vegetables and herbs is the starting point of any further usage. Harvesting and preparation of their own food is already a stimulating issue for kids and pupils. In this panel we like to present and discuss approaches, which e. g. use kindergardens or school gardens as a basis for education in cultivation of vegetables and herbs, as well as working on food issues. We explicitly welcome researchers working on nutrition and education also in a broader more contextual perspective.

This panel is closed to new paper proposals.


Planting seeds and watch them grow: an empirical study about the effects of school gardening on first-graders' perception and appreciation of plant diversity

Author: Dorothee Benkowitz (University of Education)  email
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Short Abstract

In a comparative pretest-posttest study 136 first-graders were tested for the effects of school gardening on their perception and appreciation of plant diversity. Results showed a significant raise of taxonomic knowledge and hence a raise of perception and appreciation of species richness.

Long Abstract

More and more people choose to live in cities. Increasing urbanization destroys habitats and homogenizes biodiversity which is the vital basis for human life. In the Convention on Biological Diversity an improvement of education and public awareness about the value of biodiversity is demanded. By fostering biodiversity education society can be prepared for the challenges of sustainable development. The National Strategy for Germany points out the importance of promoting school gardens. In this authentic learning environment children are offered multifarious opportunities for primary hands on experience with plants. In a comparative pretest-posttest study first-graders were tested for the effects of school gardening on their perception and appreciation of plant diversity (n = 136). In one-to-one interviews they were asked to estimate the species richness in meadow-like arrays of different diversity, to sort flowers by resemblance or development stage and to answer questions about plants. Afterwards the test group worked in a school garden for one year, the control group was instructed in the classroom. Results of the post-test showed a slight positive influence of school gardening on the perception of plant diversity. All children preferred species-rich arrangements, but the test group possessed a significantly higher taxonomic knowledge. The knowledge of species correlated positively with the estimation of species richness: the more plants children knew the more precisely they estimated the number of species. School gardening improves the taxonomic knowledge significantly. Better taxonomic knowledge leads to a better perception of species, hence to an improved awareness of diversity.

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From project to process: school gardens as vehicle for territorial sustainability. A case study from the Milan metropolitan area

Authors: Rositsa Ilieva (Politecnico di Milano)  email
Sara Tommasi  email
Davide Sironi  email
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Short Abstract

Advancing towards the 2015 EXPO, a bottom-up design and social experience in the Milan metropolitan area promotes schools' garden network as a strategic mean for food education and sustainability values transmitting. A vertical garden catalyzes a process of private-public shared objectives pursuing.

Long Abstract

The study will examine at first the great importance of food education by framing it in the wider context of some globally present critical phenomena. Accelerated urban population growth, dramatic shrinking of rural areas and food systems as well as progressive unsustainability are today profoundly altering our territories and ways of living. A key occasion for a worldwide reflection upon the latter is represented by the Milan 2015 EXPO, that however should be imagined not as limited temporal event but instead should be a stimulus for creating a higher awareness. Accordingly to this vision, in its core a part of the paper will analyze a bottom-up design and social experience, located in the Milan metropolitan area, that chooses the schools' network as a strategic mean for both future generations education and adult public sensitizing. In particular, the study will illustrate how a micro-architectural project (vertical garden prototype), if intended as a process (discussion and action catalyst involving simultaneously designers, public and private actors, and children), has the potential to address in effective way the poor conditions of current food education. The vertical garden, realized by the same students, is in fact conceived as a starting point for exploring broader themes like: food systems, water in urban environment, food packaging and recycling. Thus, the process goes beyond the school garden boundaries and aims at real positive impact for the overall territorial development. Within the conclusive section the paper will discuss the main difficulties to tackle with, and the potentialities to be valorized and experimented in other contexts.

Project-related experiences of and recommendations for new children gardens

Authors: Werner Rolf (Technical University of Munich)  email
Roman Lenz (University of Applied Sciences)  email
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Short Abstract

In south-west Germany in the state of Baden-Württemberg an ambitious attempt started 2010. More than 200 kindergartens initiated new garden patches to integrate gardening in their daily activities and to enable children experience with own grown food. An interdisciplinary team supports this program and evaluates factors for success.

Long Abstract

Within a project more than 200 kindergartens are initiating own garden projects. The facilities are supported by a team, experienced in gardening, nutrition awareness, children care and educational issues. As a first step, a hand-out how to start was written. While evaluating these specific projects, real practice guidelines are expected as one important outcome. They are supposed to contain valuable hints and tips while planning future gardens with children together and help to avoid structural and practical problems right from the beginning. Furthermore, they will point out best practice examples and practical as well as innovative ideas. These guidelines should encourage kindergartens and other day care facilities how gardening cannot just being connected with healthy and wholesome diet aspects, but demonstrate as well how interests about natural phenomena and natural sciences can be awakened. Hence, a better understanding on nature and cultural landscapes can be benefited and social behaviours trained as well.

This presentation will sketch the project design and focus on experiences made during the first gardening season.

The body as a human garden

Authors: Marcea Klein  email
Virginia Field (Blue Mountains City Council)  email
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Short Abstract

Eastern medical model sees human body as having seasonal cycles and rhythms. There is alignment between the food grown, nourishment, growth and development of the body. Eastern approach to disease is to resolve patterns of disharmonious relationships, attending to such relationships of the body, like gardening.

Long Abstract

In the West supply of fruit and vegetables is supported by fast modes of transport, refrigeration, which have harmed the environment, as well as compromised quality.

In addition, the western medical model, how the human machine works with its mechanical view overlays this model of readily available food, fixed flavours and limited variety. Seasonal products may be observed in principal only.

In Eastern cultures, the cultivation for fresh products has remained and their medical model sees the human body as having similar rhythms, cycles to a garden, pays close attention to the alignment between eating, nourishment, growth, development of the body. The approach to illness is one of responding to relationships that constitute the body's functioning. The body's internal climate, the dampness or dryness, heat or cold, are analysed. To promote health, appropriate nourishment is derived from observing seasons, food, plants, method of preparation, herb choices. This encourages awareness, appreciation, understanding of taste, digestion, responses to food, connection to the earth.

A basic explanation of Eastern theories (yin/yang and 5-element) are explored. Concepts, functioning, cycles conditions in the body and plant world will be described.

Children benefit in learning these principals as a means to understand, care for, value their body, by appreciating the way they care for the soil, plant, food they choose to eat and how it is prepared.

Learning about the way the garden is tended, planting, growth, development, harvest, preparation, eating, enjoyment of food can influence, enhance the understanding of our bodies and the cycles of life.

This panel is closed to new paper proposals.