Growing Hope Together

The Problem

We are currently working with Newfield Schools in Central New York and Simenya schools in Western Kenya. In Newfield, many children do not know what foods are locally grown or when they are in season. The number of small farms are disappearing; which results in fewer children being exposed to agriculture and the production of food. In Newfield, children are becoming less active and are increasingly exposed to unhealthy foods. As rates of childhood obesity in the country are rising, it is increasingly important to help children lead active and healthy lifestyles. We hope to improve cross-cultural understanding and knowledge of agriculture and the food system. In Simenya, the combination of HIV/AIDS, malaria and malnutrition have left hundreds of children growing up without parents to teach them about farming and agriculture. Agriculture is not taught in the Kenya school system. Disease and poverty have made it difficult for children to get the variety and quality of foods for proper development. The Simenya Primary School has attempted to implement a school feeding program, but only a few families can afford the small amount of money to participate. Many children eat their first meal of the day at 8:00 at night.

Plan of Action

Growing Hope Together will launch a cross-cultural school gardening initiative in the Newfield Central School District in central New York and Simenya Primary and Secondary Schools in the Nyanza province of Western Kenya. The project will improve knowledge and experience with agriculture, while introducing a greater variety of foods in the children’s diets. The project will also connect youth from two different cultures over the common ground of food to promote cross-cultural understanding. Understanding and interacting with different cultures is a key skill for surviving in the world today. Cross-cultural interactions can help promote peace and understanding among peoples with very different customs and routines. By interacting over the common ground of food and eating, these youth will learn communication skills that will follow them through life.

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