By Caspar van Vark
The Guardian – Could global food security be achieved by growing tomatoes up a wall and pumpkins on a rooftop? It sounds unlikely, but food security isn’t just about full stomachs. Adequate nutrition is also crucial, and helping women in particular to run productive home gardens could save millions of lives in developing countries.
Research published by The Lancet just ahead of the Nutrition for Growth summit in June revealed that malnutrition kills 3.1 million children annually, and caused stunting in 165 million in 2011. Micronutrients such as vitamin A, iron and zinc are essential, particularly in the first few years of life, and it is women who tend to be responsible for feeding families.
But women also have unequal access to land and, according to the FAO, receive only 5% of agricultural extension services globally. This is why some development agencies are putting the tools for good nutrition into women’s hands, helping them make better use of one space they can control: their homestead garden.