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Open AccessArticle

An Interpretive Framework for Assessing and Monitoring the Sustainability of School Gardens

by 1,*,†, 1,*,†, 2,†, 2,*,† and 2,†
Department of Agricultural and Forest Sciences (SAF), University of Palermo, Viale delle Scienze, 11-90128 Palermo, Italy
Department of Agricultural, Forest and Food Sciences (DISAFA), University of Torino, Largo Paolo Braccini 2, Grugliasco, 10095 Torino, Italy
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Academic Editor: Sean Clark
Sustainability 2016, 8(8), 801;
Received: 29 June 2016 / Revised: 7 August 2016 / Accepted: 10 August 2016 / Published: 15 August 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Agriculture–Beyond Organic Farming)
School gardens are, increasingly, an integral part of projects aiming to promote nutritional education and environmental sustainability in many countries throughout the world. In the late 1950s, FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization) and UNICEF (United Nations Children's Fund) had already developed projects to improve the dietary intake and behavior through school and community gardens. However, notwithstanding decades of experience, real proof of how these programs contribute to improving sustainability has not been well-documented, and reported findings have mostly been anecdotal. Therefore, it is important to begin a process of collecting and monitoring data to quantify the results and possibly improve their efficiency. This study’s primary goal is to propose an interpretive structure—the “Sustainable Agri-Food Evaluation Methodology-Garden” (SAEMETH-G), that is able to quantifiably guide the sustainability evaluation of various school garden organizational forms. As a case study, the methodology was applied to 15 school gardens located in three regions of Kenya, Africa. This application of SAEMETH-G as an assessment tool based on user-friendly indicators demonstrates that it is possible to carry out sustainability evaluations of school gardens through a participatory and interdisciplinary approach. Thus, the hypothesis that the original SAEMETH operative framework could be tested in gardens has also been confirmed. SAEMETH-G is a promising tool that has the potential to help us understand school gardens’ sustainability better and to use that knowledge in their further development all over the world. View Full-Text
Keywords: school garden; sustainability assessment; indicators; SAEMETH-G school garden; sustainability assessment; indicators; SAEMETH-G
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MDPI and ACS Style

Sottile, F.; Fiorito, D.; Tecco, N.; Girgenti, V.; Peano, C. An Interpretive Framework for Assessing and Monitoring the Sustainability of School Gardens. Sustainability 2016, 8, 801.

AMA Style

Sottile F, Fiorito D, Tecco N, Girgenti V, Peano C. An Interpretive Framework for Assessing and Monitoring the Sustainability of School Gardens. Sustainability. 2016; 8(8):801.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Sottile, Francesco; Fiorito, Daniela; Tecco, Nadia; Girgenti, Vincenzo; Peano, Cristiana. 2016. "An Interpretive Framework for Assessing and Monitoring the Sustainability of School Gardens" Sustainability 8, no. 8: 801.

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