Yes, this is not a slipup, the school is in the city, charming city of Vanadzor, Lori province and has a flourishing vegetable garden in its backyard. The secondary school number 22 is a splendid educational facility for 240 kids. Since 2010, the school has been benefitting WFP’s School Feeding Programme with 110 primary schoolchildren receiving nutritious hot meals every school day.
Being the talk of the town, the garden has been a healthy and tasty “addition” to the school meals and educational curriculum for the past 8 years. You can see beans, tomatoes, cabbage, cucumbers, and beetroots just to mention few of the vegetables grown here.
There is dill, parsley and cilantro growing in abundance. The school follows a special planting schedule so that there is a harvest all year-round. The fresh and pesticide-free vegetables grown in the garden are used to supplement the food provided by the WFP’s School Feeding Programme diversifying and making the daily school meals even healthier, more nutritious and delicious for the primary schoolchildren. Preserved vegetables are available also for the winter season menus.
"Once the parents in Vanadzor find out about the pesticide-free vegetables that we grow in our garden and use for our students’ meals, they immediately want to enroll their children in our school" - David Melkonyan, headmaster tells showing around the green garden with the plants heavy with vegetable harvest.
Not only does the garden reduce the purchasing costs of food for the school, it also serves as a nice green learning facility for the kids. They are often taken around the garden for their biology class, sneaking in a fresh snack here and there. Thanks to the vegetables produced in the garden, the contributions by parents normally used for diversifying the school meals menus are used to purchase additional sanitary and culinary utensils for the kitchen and the cafeteria.
The school staff aims at expanding their repertoire and attempting to grow a larger variety of crops. The goal for this year is harvesting garlic and onion.