LAHORE : As part of its mission and outreach programme to develop sustainable communities, the Institute for Art and Culture (IAC) identified the low-income Sher Shah Colony in its vicinity, off Raiwind Road, for the pilot phase of a community gardens programme.
A total of 70 students and 10 teachers of Government Girls High School, Sher Shah Colony, are participating in the pilot phase under the supervision of the school principal, Mrs Zebun Nisa.
The organisations including Gardening for All, The Little Arts and ‘Adventure Foundation Pakistan are providing support to the project.
Professor Sajida Vandal, vice-chancellor of IAC, has keen interest in furthering the programme and Professor Dr Ali Akbar Husain, a landscape expert and professor at the School of Architecture, Design and Urbanism, IAC, has largely facilitated it.
A workshop series which began on October 13, 2020 will continue until December 8. Of the eight workshops planned during this period, three have already taken place at Government Girls High School, Sher Shah Colony. The workshops aim to provide hands-on training to the girls together with their teachers. The idea being that once trained themselves, the teachers will, in future, carry out the training themselves without assistance from the IAC faculty and other volunteers.
The three workshops covered topics such as health and nutrition and the benefits of consuming home-grown produce, importance of organic food, economic benefits of growing vegetables as a community, the types of vegetables to grow as per season, methods of preparing planting beds, soil mixes and seed and seedling planting.
The young trainees worked on the planting beds with great enthusiasm.
The general idea behind a community garden is that a single plot of land, lying vacant, or owned by local authorities, a non-profit organisation, or a school, is turned into a communal vegetable garden that can be nurtured by individuals within the community.
A community garden can help build or restore a sense of community spirit, bring the joy of gardening to the community, provide a means of local food production, promote healthy lifestyles and cleaner environments and, above all, provide a means of income generation to the community as a whole, making for self-sufficiency, community empowerment and involvement.