CSDi Online Learning 303:
Vegetable Gardens, Community Gardens. Family Nutrition, Food Security

How-to launch a 12 month project to start vegetable gardens & community gardens.


Vegetable Gardens, Community Gardens. Family Nutrition, Food Security: 8 weeks. Courses are offered every month. To enroll, simply go to the bottom of this page.

Prerequisites: OL 101 – or – OL 201 – or – OL 341.
Why are there Prerequisites for Advanced Courses?

Please note: This course is offered in both a North American track and an International track. Simply let your instructor know which would be best for you.

International Track: See an example OL 303 assignment from a student project in Western Kenya.
Student Example: Goal Statement developed in OL 303 Vegetable Gardens, Community Gardens:
120 families in Bunyala will enjoy improved nutrition amd food security through family garden ND nutrition project
300 small children of 120 families in four communities in Western Kenya will be able to [Underlying causes to problems as if they have been solved] (1) enjoy improved nutrition and 12 months of food security per year through a family garden and nutrition program, leading to [Positive Impacts] (a) improved growth and development, (b) more active participation in family and community activities, and (c) better school attendance and performance increasing their ability to receive an education. This leads to an increase in their ability as adults to (d) lead the productive, meaningful, prosperous lives they need to leave the cycle of poverty and contribute to the development of their communities.
North American Track: Read about 5 community food gardens and a food bank that works with them in California.
Student Example: Goal Statement developed in OL 303 Vegetable Gardens, Community Gardens:
120 families with children and youth members in Ontario, California are living healthier lives because of good nutrition. This positive outcome is due to the fact that families are educated on how to buy quality food affordably and understand how to eat nutritionally, that there is organic food available, that families are able to avoid most foods full of sugar and salt, and because people know about the resources offered at the Huerta del Valle community gardens. These opportunities lead to decreased medical costs, decreased probability for youth to suffer from obesity and diabetes, and improved mental health, educational, and wellness outcomes. Arthur Levine, Ontario California.
Vegetable Gardens, Community Gardens: Gardener preparing a raised bed for planting vegetables Vegetable Gardens, Community Gardens: Family Nutrition, Food Security. A Course for developing Community Gardens. How-to launch a 12 month project to start vegetable gardens & community gardens within your community. Learn hands-on how this works to provide family nutrition and food security.
Learn: What works, how to introduce vegetable gardens and community gardens to community members, how to conduct a baseline nutrition survey, and how to implement a 12-month family or community garden project.

To learn about course fees and to register please go to the bottom of this page.

Vegetable Gardens, Community Gardens: Family Nutrition, Food Security
For many people living in the cycle of poverty, the idea of starting a vegetable garden might seem overwhelming. It could be the time investment, it might be perceived costs. It might be a lack of know-how: what to plant, how to plant, and how to care for a garden. However, the positive benefits make it worthwhile enabling community members in gardening for nutrition.

Start small, think simple. The purpose of the first year’s workshops and the community gardens that get planted are to give the participants a win—so that they will be encouraged to plant again the following year. Even if they plant only one bed—1 meter by 4 meters, they should be able to get positive, delicious, nutritious results.

Community members learn about their family’s nutritional deficits, and are given ideas of what they could grow to offset this challenge. We encourage you to work with a nutritionist in your area to list plants rich in vitamin A, and fruits and vegetables that offer protein and fats like avocados. She can help the community members pick the things from the list they would be interested in growing first.

Each class assignment is a concrete step in developing a 12 month family or community gardens project. You will engage in participatory community workshops, baseline surveys, project planning, and planting real food gardens with your community members.

If the goal of this course is to get a nutritious garden planted, in OL 304, the second of this pair of courses, the goals are to learn how to care for the garden, how to increase family understanding of nutrition – including using delicious, nutrition packed recipes,  and how to plan for next season’s garden.

We supply two levels of mentoring. Each week’s assignment will be introduced with by a clear, professional example of what we want you to achieve that week. We will also provide written comments, suggestions and encouragement for each one of your assignments individually. We want you to develop high quality outputs, and we also want you to understand the hows and whys.

The classes are designed to be fun and interactive: you will not only be working with your community, you will be collaborating with colleagues from around the globe.

“This course inspired me to set up my own home garden where I could experiment before transferring the knowledge to the community. I have been able to test different brands of seeds, try sack gardens, and research methods of rain water harvesting.” Ivy D’Costa, Tanzania.

Online training for vegetable gardens and community gardens: Design your own community workshops to introduce vegetable gardens to members of your community.
Planning Vegetable Gardens & Community Gardens: Learn about planting vegetable gardens, planting vegetable seeds, and planting vegetable starts. You will learn:
  • how to grow vegetables
  • how to plant vegetable gardens
  • how to plant vegetable seeds
  • when to plant vegetable seeds
  • vegetable gardening tips

Who should attend? Southern development and northern nonprofit students, field staff, grant writers, project managers, directors, and donor staff.

What Students Think About the Online Courses

Vegetable Gardens and Community Gardens for Food Security & Nutrition. Course Syllabus.

Vegetable Gardens, Community Gardens: Basket of Vegetables representing Food Security and Nutrition Week 1. Food Security and Nutrition. What is Food Security? What’s necessary for good nutrition?
Scientific Evidence on Community Gardens and Nutrition: What works?
Organize a Participatory Garden Nutrition Workshop.
Vegetable Gardens, Community Gardens: Community Members Learn Nutrition Week 2. Community Members: Learn Nutrition. Develop both a Workshop Lesson Plan and a Baseline Survey that will let us gain a better understanding of the community, food security and family nutrition.
Vegetable Gardens, Community Gardens: Gardener weeding his plot Week 3. Garden Nutrition Workshop: Introducing Vegetable Gardens and Community Gardens. Lead a Participatory Workshop on Family Nutrition and Vegetable Gardens. Share how planting a garden can increase the food a family receives. Demonstrate plants that provide essential vitamins, proteins and oils, and how harvests can coincide with the months when food reserves are low. Encourage feedback.
Take a Baseline Survey: Where is the community now nutritionally? Are they interested in community gardens?
Vegetable Gardens, Community Gardens: Gardener's clipboard Week 4. Family Gardening Plan: Designing Vegetable Gardens. Use the community feedback and the results of the baseline to plan a one-year nutrition and family garden project. Establish food security goals.
Research best practices and solutions to special problems.
Vegetable Gardens, Community Gardens: Planning for family gardens in a community Week 5. Planning Vegetable Gardens and Community Gardens: Develop a 12-month project logframe, budget and schedule. These tools will communicate to donors and stakeholders exactly what you are trying to accomplish and can be used for effective management of the project
Vegetable Gardens, Community Gardens: Vegetable Garden Training. Assemble tools and supplies - including a watering can. Week 6. Community Training in Community Gardens. Organize the first garden planting workshop. Partner with experts. Find a location and assemble tools and supplies. Coordinate with nutrition and garden experts. Schedule the workshop with the community.
Vegetable Gardens, Community Gardens: Turning your set of planting activities into a lesson plan and a take-home, how-to card. Week 7. The Vegetable Garden Plan. How will you transfer the gardening information to the community? Turning your set of planting activities into a lesson plan and a take-home, how-to card.
Vegetable Gardens, Community Gardens: Gardener preparing a raised bed for planting vegetables Week 8. Workshop: Planting Vegetable Gardens and Community Gardens. Dig beds, plant seeds. Participants can have a successful first-year garden, even if small. Discuss the importance of organic matter in the soil. Dig garden beds, and provide and plant seed for nutritious, vitamin A rich, local vegetables.
The Course also Provides the Following Resources
Documents on course topics by contemporary experts.
Books, posters and manuals available online for download.
Internet development links organized by sector.
Class blog for sharing your stories and photos from the field.
There are no books to buy—all course materials can be linked to, or downloaded from the course site.

Visit the follow-up companion course: OL 304: Food Security & Nutrition 2

Course Fees:
The 8-week course is $150.00.

When you are ready to enroll, click ‘Enroll Now’ at the bottom of the page.

You will be sent your Login username and password, and instructions for starting the course the Monday before the course begins. We look forward to meeting you.

The online course will be led by Tim Magee, CSD’s Executive Director, who has over 30 years experience in both working with nonprofits and leading training workshops. Mr. Magee is the author of A Field Guide to Community Based Adaptation published by Routledge/Earthscan. Mr. Magee has been an avid vegetable gardener for 40 years and has experience with community gardens—including co-founding the Tilth Urban Agricultural Center in Seattle Washington in 1978. Currently Mr. Magee actively manages a rooftop urban garden full of vegetables, fruit trees and Asian herbs and spices.

If you have a question don’t hesitate to contact us at: Online.Learning@csd-i.org .

Space is limited.

Enroll now in OL 303: Vegetable Gardens, Community Gardens: Family Nutrition, Food Security.