PRESS RELEASE: USAID URBAN GARDENS PROGRAM - MICROGARDEN CONTESTApril 1st, 2011
For Immediate Release
USAID URBAN GARDENS PROGRAM
MICROGARDEN CONTEST: Innovation in Small Spaces
USAID Urban Gardens Program is gearing up to announce the results of its first ever Micro Garden Contest the week of April 20th. The country-wide contest is currently taking place in 89 school gardens from Awassa to Gonder and from Jimma to Dessie and is also a way for USAID UGP to celebrate Earth Day, which is recognized April 22nd worldwide.
The contest participants have formed teams of 5 people including: school-aged gardeners from USAID Urban Gardens Program, other students, teachers and administrators. The idea of the contest is to promote Micro Gardening as a sustainable way to grow vegetables in the face of land and water shortages.
USAID UGP has donated over 25,000 grow bags to help over 850 teams get their Micro Gardens started. That means there are over 5,000 children, teachers and administrators from 89 schools participating in the contest in 15 cities throughout Ethiopia.
The teams are encouraged to use different types of containers and bags for their Micro Gardens such as old tires, cans and buckets. Every team will be judged according its Micro Gardenfs creativity, vegetable quality and production, as well as team spirit.
Some of the team names include: Development Fighters, Sign of Change and Lions of Ethiopia.
On April 28th, the winners will be honored at an official USAID UGP event in the following major cities: Addis Ababa, Adama, Awassa, Bahir Dar, Gonder, Dessie and Ziway. The teams with the winning Micro Gardens will be awarded prizes and all participants will receive certificates. The event will also include agriculture demonstrations and a field fair where USAID UGP Gardeners will be selling nutritious vegetables from USAID UGP group and school gardens.
The participants planted their gardens in mid-February. USAID UGP was there to document the historic event and the excitement of the participants.
"I will use the sales from these vegetables to buy exercise books," says Dereje Kassahun, 12 year old student participating in the contest from Adama #3 Elementary School.
"This is a great way to promote gardening and is an asset for our school because it brings teachers and students together within the garden. Urban gardens are becoming more and more important every day," says Mulu Kidane, the Principal of Addis Ketama High School in Awassa.
Event Dates and Times
Micro Garden Kick-Off: February 14th
Micro Garden Contest Judging: April 20th
Micro Garden Winners Announced: April 28th
USAID UGP Event: April 28th
Nancy Russell, Chief of Party, USAID UGP
Biniam Habtewold, Orphan & Vulnerable Children Specialist, USAID UGP
Participants from Contest
Contact for Journalists
Nicholas Parkinson, Communications USAID UGP
Mobile: 0920 723 065
ABOUT USAID Urban Garden Program: Started in 2008 with funding from the Presidentfs Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), USAID Urban Gardens Program (USAID UGP) is implemented by DAI and designed to improve the nutrition and income of women and orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) affected by HIV/AIDS through urban and peri-urban agriculture, which includes gardening and raising livestock.
The Gardeners participating in USAID UGP often do not have the means to purchase and consume nutritionally adequate, safe and quality foods such as vegetables. Providing nutritional support to people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) is critical for making ARVfs more effective. In addition, excess production from urban gardens can provide income for PLWHA to address other needs.
Between September 2008 and September 2010, the USAID Urban Gardens Program reached 14,300 households and over 44,000 OVC through micro, household, school and community gardens in Ethiopia. In addition, the program has provided agriculture-related education and training, tools and input. In Ethiopia, USAID UGP currently works with 32 NGOs and operates in 20 cities with the aim of improving both the income and nutrition of its Gardeners.