School tomatoes, apples and nuts

Medical records of Davydovskaya school show that only 22% of the students are completely healthy and 50% of them have problems with their digestive systems.

When we asked the parents about Healthy Lifestyle (HLS), no one associated it with healthy nutrition. That is how our Laboratory of Healthy Nutrition emerged. We decided to train schoolchildren and parents on the principles of healthy lifestyle.

It all started off with a small initiative: new equipment was purchased for the school: three combi steamers. Even the French fries served for lunch are cooked based on the steam cooking technology, it’s healthy.

– However, we advanced even more, we decided to create an open air laboratory. The two hundred square meters of school territory were used to grow vegetables and fruit, –says Svetlana Markevich, the director of the Davydovskaya Secondary School.  After all, a healthy diet is also about local products.

Svetlana Svetlana Markevich, director of the Davydovskaya Secondary School.
Svetlana Markevich, director of the Davydovskaya Secondary School.

The lunches at school are free of charge. At the same time, there are families were children get better meals at school than at home. We decided to reduce the costs by growing our own vegetables. The money we save on this we use to purchase the vegetables and fruit that we cannot grow: for example, oranges, bananas.

The school land plot was extended last year: now the school grows potatoes, carrots, beetroot and cabbage. Last year’s harvest was enough for the winter period, we even had excess, which we gave to kindergartens for the summer.

– We also made a greenhouse. We grow seedlings there: tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, says Svetlana enthusiastically. We plant the seedlings into the outdoor soil beds. Therefore, the children from the summer camp eat our cucumbers in July and August.

The school land plot was extended last year: now the school grows potatoes, carrots, beetroot and cabbage.
The school land plot was extended last year: now the school grows potatoes, carrots, beetroot and cabbage.

The seedlings became popular among the fellow villagers, some villagers wanted to buy the seedlings. Therefore, the director has another idea for a social business project: to increase the production of the seedlings, so that the children from the labor camps could earn money by selling it.

– There are ovaries in the apple tree garden, so this year we will eat our apples, – says Svetlana. – Only after the check-up by the sanitary and epidemiological service. We also have raspberry and currant bushes, however, we don’t have the freezers for storage. But, I think, we will soon address this issue.

In the future we will have a nut alley. It is growing already. We hope that in some 5 years the children will eat our walnuts.

Only a part of the lands was allocated for production. We have left training soil beds for the labor and biology classes. Primary schoolchildren learn to grow onions, and older school pupils grow buckwheat and plants that fight pests.

Laboratory of Healthy Nutrition “ShkolnikAM” is implemented within UN "Belmed" project  with the support from the EU and in partnership with the Ministry of Health of Belarus and Department for Education, Sports and Tourism of the Svietlahorsk District Executive Committee, Homiel Region.

 

 

 

Written by
Author
Alexandra Savinich
UNDP
UN entities involved in this initiative
UNDP
United Nations Development Programme
UNICEF
United Nations Children’s Fund
WHO
World Health Organization