Harvest Gardens is a program based in the UK which enables churches, groups, schools, companies, troops, and families to financially support a Harvest garden in Africa which then effectively gives that community a food source that is self-sustaining and long term. Jessica Lowler who is involved with the UK-bound charity describes it as [an organization that] teaches people how to grow the food they need to survive.” Although simply put, no one can deny the tremendous impact Harvest Gardens has had.
When spoken about; words like hope, community and self-sustainability are used to describe Harvest Gardens. Lowler differentiates this charity from all others, by explaining its primary focuses on communal self-sustainability. As a charity they untimately desire to teach people in Africa how to work together to create a community where they will be able to maintain a means to a livelyhood; to not only survive, but to prosper.
Each garden has forty double dug beds, which measure a quarter of an arc in size and is able to feed approximately fifty people per year. With all this being said, once all the garden communities have been started and given all the equipment necessary, they require some or no future investment. “Seeds are saved & resown, compost piles are made for fertilizer, companionship planting are used for pest control, double digging and mulching are used for moisture retention and excess produce is sold,” explains Lowler.
As a charity they untimately desire to teach people in Africa how to work together to create a community where they will be able to maintain a means to a livelyhood; to not only survive, but to prosper.
Harvest gardens would not be able to make such an impact without the support of generous sponsors all over the world. Every garden is assigned a sponsor who invests in the training, seeds, tools and other equipment needed in order to maintain the gardens. As a ‘thank you’, the sponsor is then given the opportunity to name the garden. A sign is then made, indicating its name. Throughout the year photographs are taken of the progress in the garden, as well as various stages the garden undergoes and are regularly sent to the sponsor. This enables the sponsor the opportunity to be part of the growth and impact their donations are making.
The benefits Harvest Gardens has on the communities include: "self-esteem, physical health, community cohesion, standard of living increased, possibility of jobs, and most of all a heart full of hope." ---Lowler.
In order for the gardens to succeed, there are trainers assigned to every garden to teach the community ... “all the latest in organic horticulture, give them tools, seeds & equipment, and then help them set up a community farm, essentially known as a harvest garden,” says Lawlor.
Making a Difference
The benefits of this charity are countless. It aims to bringing out the best in the communities they work with. A few of the benefits Harvest Gardens has on the communities include: "self-esteem, physical health, community cohesion, standard of living increased, possibility of jobs, and most of all a heart full of hope." As stated by Lowler.
Without a doubt one of the beautiful characteristics of Harvest Gardens is the way it embraces community. The communities that work with this charity can consist of widows, HIV support groups, schools, orphanages, or any poor and unemployed groups (who struggle to feed and provide for their families). The impact the gardens are having are phenomenal and to say the least, life-changing. Lowler, who has seen the benefits firsthand, states, “I could of course go on and on, but suffice to say, I love what we do. It’s an amazing thing that not only do these needy people have food, and health, but also a hope for the future. As my grandfather (John Arnott) likes to say, ‘Its better to teach a man to fish’.”