An organic garden as a business


Teaching children buisness aspects of organic gardening.

Description of the activity

The purpose of this workshop is for children to learn and understand how an organic garden can become a way to work and develop as a a business.

This workshop is part of the activities that Asturias Acoge organises at the request of the different schools that want to participate. For this association it is very important to be able to visualise the current situation of migrants arriving in Asturias, so that, from childhood they can be sensitised, breaking stereotypes and prejudices related to immigration.
In this case the visit is made to an orchard for the cultivation of vegetables and raspberries certified by the Council of Ecological Agricultural Production of the region of Asturias.This orchard is a company and is owned by a former user of Asturias Acoge from Morocco, who has become an entrepreneur and also collaborates with the NGO in the teaching of organic farming to children and adults.
The main potential of this activity is to let the children know how organic farming can be a valid option for the future.
The main benefit of this workshop is to observe how you can have your own business; in this case, the user who taught the course became a model of good practice for the rest of adult users.
The children learn everything related to the planting and harvesting of raspberries, including participating in the collection and harvesting of them.
In addition, we also try to make the children aware of everything necessary for a balanced diet and respect for the environment in a space of respect and mutual understanding.

It is important to note that this project is not only aimed at minors, but in the development of it, nine people using the urban garden of Asturias Acoge help and collaborate in the delivery of this workshop.
In addition, in a complementary way, another series of workshops are developed in a cross-cutting manner, such as a sowing calendar workshop, healthy life, local consumption groups, etc.
The main threat in this kind of workshops is how to merge the concept of migration with all that it entails with the basic concepts on agriculture; that is to say, they try from the association to create a symbiosis between two ideas that at first glance don’t seem connected.

Competences and training needed

In the development of this activity the trainer collaborates in the explanations given to children, and other nine users of “Huertas Acoge” who have volunteered to deliver this workshop.

The trainers have experience in training in organic farming both among schools and with adults.

The training also shows group dynamics and illustrates a number of social skills which can be adapted to the different profiles that are among the participants.

t is important to motivate the participants and for the trainers to explain basic facts of agriculture in order to develop a change of attitude and mentality in the participants, trying to develop autonomy and respect for the environment.

In short, they try to create a new learning community.

Steps for the implementation of the activity

The first step is to detect, based on the general profile of the students, what they want to transmit and how. It is necessary to prepare the activity in advance, since it is complicated to propose business concepts depending on the age range and the needs of the students.

Once they are clear about what type of user profile they are going to have in the garden, they plan both the theoretical part and the practice; they choose the different vegetables, generally preferring seasonal products. In addition the farmer has different plots for training and learning.

Already in practice and with the students on the ground, different groups are formed, and with the help of the volunteers the activity of identification, planting and harvesting of vegetables is developed.

Materials and methods

This activity takes place in the vegetable garden owned by the farmer and is located in the neighbourhood of Trubia in the city of Oviedo. Here you will find several greenhouses and different plots where activities take place. In the garden there are also two greenhouses where they grow raspberries.

Materials and human resources:
For the correct development of this activity the necessary materials are all related to the development of a garden: seeds, seedlings, farming tools, etc. These materials are actually already in the garden itself. Regarding human resources, they needed:
- the presence of a technical assistant hired by the association to coordinate the project.
- eight volunteers from the association.
- nine people benefiting from the “Huertas Acoge” project, providing support to minors.

The meetings are held on every Saturday and run for four hours a day. It is also important to note that at the same time other activities were developed whose contents served as support for the development of the urban garden.

These workshops are financed with an annual economic contribution by the council of Oviedo with an amount of 3000€ for the teaching of organic farming for schoolchildren. This amount is divided into different categories including staff salary, supplies, marketing, insurance, maintenance, food and celebrations, materials, etc.

Learning outcomes for the participants

This workshop has been a success not only for the teaching of the participants but also for the collaboration of users, who were supporting the delivery of the workshop, so that the learning has gone in both directions.
On the one hand, children have learned values related to respect for the environment, teamwork, respect for other cultures, healthy ways of feeding, etc.
Regarding adults, it can be affirmed that they have managed to increase their self-confidence, their empowerment and increase their social skills. Empathy, public speaking, learning to organise a group (in this case of children), the desire to excel and self-knowledge are very beneficial indicators when implementing these workshops in which migrant people collaborate.