School Nutritional Gardens


Classrooms without walls, education beyond textbooks! When children are still growing, the need for nurturing is extremely high; mind, body and soul. Creating a place where they receive plentiful food, unconditional love and encouragement and education is the perfect solution, and the School Nutritional Gardens project in Cambodia has had an enormous impact.

When work and food are scarce, and there are little to no existing skills in cultivating food, children are often left behind or abandoned completely while their parents seek out a way to earn a living. In Cambodia, there is a whole generation of children who are severely malnourished due to lack of food, and at risk of abuse and child trafficking due to being left all alone.

OnePlate has partnered with an organisation in Cambodia to address the lack of nutrition and build farming skills through the creation of school gardens. The project now provides not only nutrition, but an opportunity to learn about plants and the environment, basic farming skills and further agricultural training programs in the future.

There are 148 children in this school in Cambodia, many of whom are staying the full day at the school for safety and care, because their parents leave for work early morning and come back at night. The children are aged from just a few months old up to nine, where the older siblings are responsible for caring for baby brothers and sisters.

It was exciting to work with local experts to find creative techniques to maximise any space in the school grounds, such as trellis gardens along walls and pergolas with climbing plants that provide shade during the day. Chickens were purchased and incorporated into the limited space to provide eggs for the children as well as fertiliser for the gardens. Rotary compost bins are used to turn organic vegetable waste into valuable fertiliser. 

Vegetables including aubergines (eggplants), pumpkins, broccoli, cucumber and mushrooms are now plentiful in the garden, and a worm garden – which the children love – adds to the abundance. In the school cook house, local cooks are providing a nutritious hot meal to more than 100 children every day. Without this support, these children would not have a meal for days on end.

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