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The Keyhole Garden: A family garden to combat malnutrition

in Agriculture by

The “Keyhole Garden” is an innovative gardening technique being used to combat malnutrition in impoverished regions worldwide. It is proving to be particularly effective in arid areas such as Uganda, Lesotho or Guatemala.


The “Keyhole Garden” is a revolutionary concept of gardening initially created by charitable institutions to help poor families and especially those suffering from malnutrition.

The “Keyhole Garden” is a small vegetable garden simple and easy to build even in confined spaces. It has a raised circular shape surrounded by a wall made up of rocks and a pit in the center serving as a common compost and water dispenser.

Made of straws, branches or even used cans, the substrates ensure a slow and homogeneous diffusion of nutrients.

These vegetable gardens are built near houses, making them very accessible and sparing owners the need to travel great distances to take care of their plants and crops. The fact that they are built on an elevated level equally makes them less prone to be destroyed by heavy rains or floods.

The “Keyhole Garden” is a creative way to try to get families out of poverty using resources readily available but also on what we have always-waste.

With this type of garden, waste is given a new life. Peeling of fruits and vegetables or even waste water are deposited in the central pit. While disintegrating, they turn into compost and directly provide nutrients to the soil of the garden.

A great variety of plants, vegetables and fruit can spring from that little piece of land. Impoverished families have adequate and proper food handy while children, formerly malnourished, can grow up healthily with these new fresh products enriching their diet.

Besides, families having a surplus of food crops may sell them achieving revenue to pay for other expenses.

In Guatemala, the “Keyhole Garden” has become the backbone for many vulnerable families consisting of abandoned or widowed mothers having the huge responsibility of raising their children alone.


Charitable institutions, such as Food for the Hungry, is doing the extra mile by offering concerned families recipes and cooking classes as well.

This is a great concept to give the latter a platform to share their knowledge and know-how. As groups, the families having the “Keyhole Garden” support each other, putting what they learn into practice.


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