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Karen Wistoft

Gardens for Guts: Experience and enjoyment

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‘Haver til Maver’[Gardens to Guts]is an organic centre for sense and nature experiences situated at Krogerup farm in Northern Sealand, Denmark, founded by ‘Aarstiderne’, a non-profit organisation. The educational intention is to expand children’s competences and their knowledge of nature, farming, the outdoors, cooking, healthy eating habits and ‘edible experiences’. The concept is based on Krogerup teaching the pupils to grow vegetables in their own school gardens using specially designed outdoor kitchens where they prepare the vegetables together with a cook, and accompanied by a ranger, they explore the woods and surrounding fields. The children attend, together with their teachers, 8-10 times during the season from April – October. Each time they bring back home vegetables and recipes for the menus they have prepared in the outdoor kitchen.

The present evaluation is the first Danish example of research in the school gardens’ health pedagogical effects and as such is an important contribution to the development of the existing knowledge of health education.

Objectives:
The purpose is to evaluate ‘Haver til Maver’ with regard to optimising and further developing the programme and thus creating the necessary basis for spreading and implementing the concept at other farms in Denmark. Furthermore, the scientific goal is to contribute to knowledge development in the field. The evaluation began in September 2010, with qualitative as well as quantitative data based on: field observations; individual and focus group interviews with pupils, teachers and parents; literary reviews; and a questionnaire of parents, processed with SPSS (with cross tabulation). Furthermore, data has been collected from three workshops with project developers and educators at the farm. The evaluation focuses on pedagogical effects, existing knowledge from similar international projects, school gardens’ history in Denmark, implementation implications and improvement potential.

Results:
‘Haver til Maver’ is an all-round educational option which appeals to pupils across gender, age group, social background, skill and physical capability. The pupils achieve an understanding of the relation between man and nature, knowledge of organic farming, ingredients, animals, and food education. The children are also taught to till the soil, and as a result they experience fewer conflicts at school. The health promoting outcomes for the pupils can be categorised as: a) outdoor life b) farming and cooking c) development of social competences d) experience and enjoyment. The evaluation points to concrete potential for improving the concept, focusing on two main factors: improved preparation and integration in school subjects; and improved information to parents concerning goals, concepts and contents, i.e. that the parents make use of the ingredients and recipes that the children bring home.

Conclusion:
‘Haver til Maver’ has a positive effect on school children academically, socially and mentally. Children and young people today lead everyday lives that have very little contact with nature, ingredients or cooking. Furthermore, their lives are much more sedentary than previous generations’. The programme is a unique addition to the ordinary education in schools, providing the possibility of interdisciplinary and authentic links.
Original languageEnglish
Publication year12 Jan 2012
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 12 Jan 2012
Externally publishedYes
EventNFPF/NERA's 40th Congress:: Everyday life, education and their transformations in a Nordic and globalized context - Copenhagen, Denmark
Duration: 8 Mar 201210 Mar 2012

Conference

ConferenceNFPF/NERA's 40th Congress:
CountryDenmark
CityCopenhagen
Period08/03/201210/03/2012

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