A non-formal approach to urban agriculture in schools - the whole enchilada

Session highlights our current four year program in Mexico City, including design and development of schoolyard orchards, development of cross-curricular activities and the presentation of successful examples in schools. Presentation includes review of didactic material, and videos prepared by students to show their work.

CICEANA, an NGO located in a park in Mexico City has an on-going, non-formal EE program which has worked within the public school system for ten years. The school participates in development, construction and maintenance of a low-cost schoolyard orchard in highly urbanized downtown areas with almost no green areas. The program includes the formation and training of an Ecological Committee, teacher training as well student workshops throughout the year in various environmental topics, and culminating with an environmental fair where the different schools share their experiences.

The program furnishes a platform for education across the curriculum including natural sciences, environment, civics, history, mathematics, art, and home economics. Some of the specific topics covered are: organic agriculture, medicinal plants, preparation of liquid organic fertilizers, vermicompost, plant rotations, natural pesticides, and biodiversity.

The students learn to do individual research and collective activities. The parents are also included, leading to improved integration of the educational community. By the time the four-year program is finished, it has been integrated into the school curriculum and student life. In addition to the expected knowledge and capabilities gained, the participants develop a more integrated vision of the world in which they live as well as a notion of their responsibility towards it.