Food for thought : increasing nutritional diversity by adapting to droughts in Timor-Leste's permaculture/agroecology garden schools : a research project presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of International Development, Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand

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Massey University
The main aim of the research was to explore community resilience, and specifically whether and how garden schools that use permaculture/agroecology principles may be usefully contributing to adaptation to climate change and nutritional diversity in Timor-Leste. The research also aimed to investigate the challenge of implementing garden schools in Timor-Leste. Specifically, targets of the Sustainable Development Goals relating to water conservation, resilience and food security were utilized to measure the progress of garden schools. The above is embedded in a conceptual agroecology framework that assesses the resilience of food growing systems in relation to climate change as the schools utilize permaculture/agroecology principles, with permaculture being a form of agroecology. Timor-Leste is now faced with extreme climate patterns as a result of climate change that can lead to more prolonged droughts. This study used a qualitative methodolology, which included interviews of teachers with school gardens, to help understand how teachers and their students are adapting to these droughts. The study also examines nutritional diversity in schools and the benefits and challenges of implementing school gardens. Furthermore, the study explores the transfer of nutritional and gardening knowledge from schools to the community to increase community resilience. The research revealed that garden schools internationally improve students’ scientific understanding and agricultural knowledge and their taste for locally grown fruit and vegetables. The school gardens in Timor-Leste have multiple benefits with regard to improving educational outcomes and community resilience as a school garden transforms a schoolyard into a green laboratory for students to learn about nutrition, mathematics and linguistics.
School gardens, Permaculture, Study and teaching, Environmental education, Sustainable agriculture, Timor-Leste, Research Subject Categories::SOCIAL SCIENCES::Social sciences::Education