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Home Gardens

September 29, 2011

Home GardenHome gardens, (also known as forest gardens), are found in humid areas. They use inter-cropping to cultivate trees, crops, and livestock on the same land. In Kerala in South India as well as in northeastern India, they are the most common form of land use; they are also found in Indonesia, One example combines coconut, black pepper, cocoa and pineapple. (

In several countries of Africa, such as Zambia, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe, African countries, for example Zambia, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, home gardens abound vastly in rural, peri-urban, as well as urban areas. They are relied upon as vital sources of food security. Most well known home gardens are the Chagga gardens on the slopes of Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania and they are an excellent example of the agro forestry system. Women are the main participants in home gardening in most countries, and the food produced is mainly for subsistence.

In Nepal, the home garden is known as the Ghar Bagaincha. It pertains to the land use system, where several types of plants are cultivated and taken care of by household members. The products of these home gardens are mainly meant for consumption by members if a family.

The term “home garden” is often thought of as similar to the kitchen garden but they differ in terms of function, size, diversity, composition and well as features.  In Nepal, the government has never spoken of home gardens as an important unit of food production, mainly because of their small size. They therefore remain neglected from research and development. However, at the household level the system is still thought of as very important given that it is a source of quality food and nutrition for the rural poor as home gardens are crucial contributors to the household food security and livelihoods of farming communities in Nepal. They are usually planted with a mixture of annual and perennial plants that can be cultivated on a daily or seasonal basis. Biodiversity that has an immediate value is maintained in home gardens as women and children have easy access to preferred food, it is necessary therefore that home gardens be promoted for maintaining a  healthy way of life. ‘Home gardens, with their intensive and multiple uses, provide a safety net for households when food is scarce. These gardens are not only important sources of food, fodder, fuel, medicines, spices, herbs, flowers, construction materials and income in many countries, they are also important for the in situ conservation of a wide range of unique genetic resources for food and agriculture (Subedi et al., 2004). Many uncultivated, as well as neglected and underutilised species could make an important contribution to the dietary diversity of local communities (Gautam et al., 2004).’ (

Along with their role in being a source of supplementary diet, home gardens also lead to ‘whole family’ and ‘whole communuity’ participating in the process activity of providing food.. Children, the elderly, and those caring for them can take part in field agriculture, adding other households along with home gardening to their list of activities. This custom was around in several countries of the world where home gardens are popular, for thousands of years.

Home gardens are an example of polyculture and preserve considerable crop genetic diversity that is absent in monocultures. Efforts are afoot today to promote a similar concept in temperate climates.




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