Home Gardens in Nepal

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This book on Nepalese home gardens brings together new research findings and perspectives to show us how home gardens contribute to the development, nutrition, and wellbeing of rural households.

The extensive literature on home gardens has addressed the various aspects of food security, nutrition, income, gender, biodiversity and ecosystem services that characterize home garden systems.

The authors of this volume have gone further than simply enumerating the attributes of home gardens; they have shown how home gardens can be supported and mobilized as a development intervention that contributes to empowering rural households by generating income and improved nutrition in ways that are embedded in local cultures and traditions. One of the analytical contributions the authors make is to reveal the importance of the traditional multi-story, multi-purpose home garden that is rich in biodiversity as a crucial asset for livelihood and health. While terms like kitchen garden have been used by development agencies in order to emphasise the food security and income aspects, especially for women, the other health, nutrition, and ecological benefits to households may have been undervalued.

This book has established a clear link between home garden biodiversity and the dietary diversity that underpins good nutrition and health. Working with nutrition programmes and development agencies from government and non-government agencies, the authors have been able to document these linkages and contributions to incomes, food security, nutrition and health in practice.

Finally, if not belatedly, we are reaching a global consensus that economic development of the rural poor must be part of a process of empowerment based on control over resources, governance and support for local institutions the poor can manage. For the authors of this book, home gardens are essential biological assets under the control of rural households, managed by rules that are embedded in the culture and customs that lie at the heart of community cohesion and identity.

The great achievement of this book is that it demonstrates how development based around the traditional Nepali home garden systems fosters community empowerment and well being. The International Plant Genetic Resources Institute is grateful to have been part of the research partnerships that produced this work.

The support and motivation provided by the Swiss Development Corporation (SDC) in Nepal enabled us to build innovative partnerships among LIBIRD, the National Agricultural Research Council and Department of Agriculture, National Nutrition Programme of Nepal, Plan Nepal, Care Nepal and leading global actors in health and nutrition such as Helen Keller International.

We hope that this work in Nepal can serve as model to further community-based biodiversity management for food security, nutrition and health.

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