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Gardening cool in a rural school | Civic Europe
Environment and sustainability, Community development

Gardening cool in a rural school

School gardens empowering rural children


Who is behind this?

Andrea Žuškin

O.A.ZA. - Sustainable Alternative to Community


Who is joining forces?

Association IKS (Association for Promotion of IT, Culture and Coexistence)


Primary School Jabukovac


Primary School Ivan Goran Kovačić Gora


Apart from the 3 above mentioned, we will have as partners another primary school Katarina Zrinska from village Mečenčani.


Idea pitch

In times when gardening is getting very hip in urban areas and the coolest young people in the big cities are staring their own gardens, most rural children feel ashamed of their agricultural heritage. By this project we want to help re-brand gardening in 3 rural primary schools in Petrinja region of special state concern in Croatia, with short-term aim to increase self-esteem of 250 local children, and long-term to inspire part of them to proudly work the land and live of it once they grow up.

Where will your project idea take place?

Jabukovac, Gora and Mečenčani, 3 villages of Sisak-Moslavina county, central Croatia

What is the specific societal challenge faced by this region?

The project activities will be implemented in the Sisak-Moslavina County and its municipalities with the lowest development index in the Republic of Croatia (Petrinja and Donji Kukuruzari). Primary school students from the least developed rural areas belong to a specific group discriminated on several grounds:
- the least developed area characterized by huge unemployment and poverty,
- segregated postwar communities (segregation of ethnic, cultural and religious groups),
- low level of education,
- depopulation and migration to more urban areas
- underdeveloped infrastructure with emphasis on lack of adequate public transportation
- lack of access to activities that contribute to development of children as individuals and members of the community.

Who are you doing it for?

The project will take place in postwar communities which are still strongly segregated between Croatian and Serbian villages, schools, streets, cafes, etc. To ensure engagement of different perspectives we will work in schools with mostly Croatian and mostly Serbian students and teachers, and bring them together for planing and implementation of the Garden Festival.
The primary target group are around 250 primary school students and 50 teachers/school staff members. The secondary target group are 1000 parents and close family members and 5000 members of local community and general public.

How do you plan to get there?

1. increase the offer of extracurricular activities in 3 isolated rural primary schools by starting school gardens and implementing a program of 20 practical gardening workshops (plants, garden tools, hoeing, sowing, planting, etc.) and 20 theoretical workshops for children on sustainable development (environmental, economic and social aspects) 
2. increase the competencies and positive attitudes toward gardening and agriculture and sustainable development topics among rural children by conducting non-formal education workshops and practical workshops in school gardens
3. Organize a Garden Festival that will bring all 3 schools and segregated village communities together and serve as a promotion of school gardens project in local community and as celebration of the project achievements

What are the expected results?

Rural children, who in past have been denied participation in extracurricular activities due to scarce opportunities, living in underdeveloped area of country, poor transport infrastructure and other obstacles, are getting involved in projects that provide learning and personal development possibilities, increase their self-initiative, self-confidence, satisfaction with life in a rural community and future perspectives for staying there and living of land.
After organisation of Garden Festival, in which whole community participated, the life in Petrinja Municipality feels little less segregated and children feel more and more as part of the wider community and society.
The unique ideas that can ensure sustainable and prosperous life in rural areas are being considered, shared, developed.

How does your idea strengthen active citizenship at a local and community level?

The project contributes to increasing social and economic cohesion in these areas by developing an entrepreneurial spirit in children that could later launch initiatives to solve problems in the community, ensure self-employment and stay in their communities. It is extremely important to invest in these areas in order to contribute to the uniform development of all communities in relation to the areas of the Republic of Croatia that are in a more favorable position. It is also important to consider the importance of the money invested in the development of these communities in relation to the standards of similar communities in other parts of the European Union.

Why is this idea important to you?

Our biggest inspiration is to motivate children from rural areas to grow up in strong, confident and caring young people who can see the new specter of possibilities opening for them within the rural community they grew up in and who are proud to stay there and secure their living of land.
Through garden work they will develop skills and values such as respect, patience, tolerance, care, etc. which can be transferred to other relationships and help them in their everyday communication with their pears, teachers, parents, neighbors.
Through school garden activities and workshops they will strengthen their connection with nature and motivation for protection of the environment and more sustainable lifestyles, and further influence others in the community to do the same.

€ 50000,-

Total budget

€ 50000,-

Funding requested from Civic Europe

Major expenses

1000 eur - Transport ZG-Petrinja-ZG (20 departures x 50 euros)
1000 eur - Local transport
4000 eur - Materials for raised garden beds in 3 schools
4000 eur - Plants, seeds, compost
4000 eur - Gardening tools for 3 schools
3000 eur - workshop materials
3000 eur - garden festival
2000 eur - promo materials
12,000 eur - salary OAZA, 12 months
10,000 eur - salary IKS, 10 months
3000 eur - OAZA office overheads/expenses
3000 eur - IKS office overheads/expenses

What do you need from the Civic Europe community?

Do you think this idea could work in your context?
Do you have some suggestions how to built on it to further improve it?
Thanks for your much appreciated feedback :)



Idea created on May 27, 2020
Last edit on May 27, 2020

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