OL 303:
Vegetable Gardens for Food Security & Nutrition

How to Start Vegetable Gardens | Community Gardens for Food Security


Vegetable Gardens and Community Gardens for Food Security & Nutrition: 8 weeks. Courses are offered every two months. Current offering dates are in the column to the side. To enroll, simply go to the bottom of this page.

Prerequisites: OL 102 – or – OL 202 – or – OL 342.
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.

See an example OL 303 assignment from a student project in Western Kenya

Vegetable Gardens: Gardener preparing a raised bed for planting vegetables

Vegetable Gardens for Food Security & Nutrition. A Course for Community Gardens. Learn what works locally for food security & good nutrition. Launch a 12 month project to start vegetable gardens in your community in this hands-on course.

Learn: What works, how to introduce vegetable gardens and community gardens to community members, how to conduct a baseline 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 for Food Security & Nutrition
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 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 an agriculturalist 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 villagers 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. Participatory community workshops, baseline survey, project planning, and planting real food gardens with your community.

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 accompanied by a clear, professional example of what we want you to achieve that week. We will also provide 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 workshops to introduce vegetable gardens to members of your community.
Planning Vegetable Gardens: Learn about planting vegetable gardens, planting vegetable seeds, and planting vegetables themselves. You will learn:
  • how to grow vegetables
  • how to plant vegetables
  • how to plant vegetable gardens
  • how to plant vegetable seeds
  • vegetable gardening tips
  • vegetable planting guide
  • when to plant vegetable seeds
  • when to plant vegetables

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: 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 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 community gardens, food security and family nutrition.
Vegetable Gardens: Gardener weeding his plot

Week 3. Garden Nutrition Workshop: Vegetable 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? Are they interested in community gardens?

Vegetable Gardens: Gardener's clipboard Week 4. Family Gardening Plan: Design 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: Planning for family gardens in a community Week 5. Planning Vegetable 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: 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: 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: Gardener preparing a raised bed for planting vegetables Week 8. Workshop: Planting Vegetable Gardens. Vegetable Gardens Workshop: 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.
Class forum for posting questions to your classmates.
There are no books to buy—all course materials can be linked to, or downloaded from the course site.

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

Choose which price fits your profile.
Course Fees:
1. The 8-week course is $100.00 for citizens of developing nations.
2. The 8-week course is $150.00 for citizens of developed nations.

When you are ready to enroll, click ‘Enroll Now’ at the bottom of the page. Write us for transfer instructions if you would prefer to pay by bank transfer. Online.Learning@csd-i.org .

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 for Food Security & Nutrition