Poverty is something no one should ever go through. It has brought harm and fear to people’s lives.”
Those were the first two sentences found on a colorful poster board presentation completed by a group of fourth, fifth and sixth graders at a local Phoenix elementary school. It was the conclusion they reached as part of a joint project between the school and Food for the Hungry (FH).
Recently, FH partnered with the school’s gardening class to create a keyhole garden. Each academic year, the children decide how they want to set up their class garden. This year, FH shared with the students about the benefits of keyhole gardens and their significant role in children’s lives in Africa and Latin America. We explained how they are drought resistant, self-fertilizing, easily accessible, and produce nutritious, sustainable food, among many other positive traits.
LEARNING ABOUT POVERTY
After sharing the benefits and logistics of keyhole gardens, the students had a large project ahead of them to prepare for the build. Their teacher broke the students into groups. Each group built a mini model of the keyhole garden and created a poster board to display their research. Every presentation contained vivid drawings of before and after diagrams, information behind the details of the build, plant research and facts about poverty.
During the build, an FH staff member asked a student in the class, “What has been the most surprising thing you have learned from this project?” Without a second thought, the student stated, “The millions of people living in poverty around the world.”
Many of the children in the class did not know that nearly half the world’s population lives in poverty. They did not know there were adults and children all around the globe who do not have regular access to nutritious food. These devastating statistics placed an emphasis on the importance of these gardens in restoring hope to hundreds of families in FH communities.
NEW FRIENDS IN GUATEMALA
While the students in Arizona were working hard on researching and designing their garden, there was also a school in one of our communities in Guatemala working on their own. The students in Guatemala help maintain a keyhole garden at their school to both learn and grow sustainable nutritious food. We paired the class in Arizona with the class in Guatemala to form a virtual pen pal relationship, where each class can share information and ask questions. The children in Guatemala sent the first video. The students shared their interests, school, garden and home. After the kids in Arizona watched the message from Guatemala, it was clear that friendships were being cultivated between two classrooms thousands of miles apart. Throughout the school year, each class will continue to share about their gardens and what they are learning.
It is certainly a beautiful blessing to witness how a keyhole garden laid the foundation for authentic friendships to grow between children of different cultures.
Want to learn how to build a keyhole garden?
Food for the Hungry’s free ebook, 5 Phases of a Keyhole Garden, contains step-by-step instructions to bring the benefits of a keyhole garden to your home. You’ll discover how to plan, build, fill, plant and maintain this drought-resistant, easy access way to grow nutrient-rich vegetables.