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Supporting sustainable development: the 4th Best School Mini Garden competition in Armenia

In partnership with the UN WFP, Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sports of the Republic of Armenia, and the School Feeding and Child Welfare Agency (SFCW) we launched the first Best School Mini Garden competition in 2021. Since then, the event has been held annually with a specific theme. The theme of the new competition is Spring Adventure. It celebrates spring as a symbol of the beginning of a new life and the gardening season. The competition aims to show primary school children how they can have fun in the garden and, at the same time, enrich their diet with fresh, natural products.

When setting off on a spring adventure, this year’s competition participants must choose one of the two nominations.

· The Best School Mini Garden is a traditional nomination for educational organizations that can establish a nearby garden.

· The Best Windowsill Garden is a new nomination created for schools in colder regions that are eager to participate but have no possibility to plant an outdoor vegetable garden in spring. Such schools can grow healthy herbs, microgreens, and mini vegetables on windowsills.

The next step after choosing a nomination

The competition participants must go a long way to create and care for an ideal vegetable garden. The children will do this under the guidance of teachers, school administration, and high school students. They will set up plants, take care of them using organic farming methods, and even establish an agricultural club (note: only for participants in the Best School Mini Garden nomination) that will host lectures and interactive events to exchange experiences between senior and junior schoolchildren. The children will also draw a picture of a healthy dish and prepare it using the products they grew themselves.

Establishing a garden is not easy. How long does the competition last?

The competition is held in several stages. In February, participants submit applications, after which schools work on creating dream gardens and send reporting documents to the organizing committee by June 1. Next, the jury members study the materials and assign points to the competitors. The winners will be determined by August 1, 2024, and announced during the awards ceremony.

Who are the competition participants?

The competition participants are schools covered by the School Feeding Programme. At the moment, acceptance of applications is over. Also, the organizing committee held a webinar for schools in April to discuss conditions of participation and answer questions.

35 applications submitted

7 marzes participate

31 schools chose the Best School Mini Garden nomination

4 schools chose the Best Windowsill Garden nomination

20 schools participate for the 1st time

12 schools participate for the 2nd time

2 schools participate for the 3rd time
Will participants be awarded for their labor?

The winner of the Best School Mini Garden nomination will receive a $3,000 grant to improve the school garden. Schools that come second and third will get valuable prizes (food storage equipment.)

The winner of the Best Windowsill Garden category will receive a $500 prize. Schools that come second and third will be awarded valuable prizes (blenders, knife sets, cutting boards).

The Best School Mini Garden competition is a milestone in developing the School Feeding Programme in Armenia. By establishing neat and well-landscaped gardens, children learn to take care of nature, grow plants, and prepare healthy dishes. At the same time, vegetables and herbs on their plates help enrich the school menu with a variety of vitamins and minerals.

We wish the competition participants good luck and an abundant harvest!