What about you ? (Willem Van Cotthem)

It seems that 1 billion people on earth are chronically hungry.

Suppose that, on average, they all belong to a family with 4-5 family members.

That would mean there are 200-250 million chronically hungry families.

Suppose that all the international and national aid organizations would agree to start a programme to offer to all these families, wherever they live, a kit to set up a small container garden, containing a number of cheap containers (buckets, pots, bottles, sacks, ……), some seed packages and some organic fertilizer.

Suppose these kits could be given to schools for the creation of school container gardens.

What would be the cost of such a kit ?

Suppose that these 200-250 million families are enabled to produce at home, and all year long, the elementary vegetables and herbs of their choice (lettuce, onion, tomato, carrot, radish, cabbage, thyme, rosemary, mint, …).

Suppose, in doing so, these 1 billion people become less hungry or less malnourished, less susceptible to infections and thus healthier, stronger and more able to execute jobs and to enhance their annual income.

Suppose all the schools on earth would have a school container garden, producing fresh food for a decent daily lunch at school, thus improving the children’s performances at school.

Considering that all this could be realized by the international and national aid organizations, and that this programme would lead to an undeniable sustainable development for 1 billion out of the 7 billion people on earth,

what would be the cost of 200-250 million container gardening kits ?



Please try to answer the following question :

How many container gardening kits could be purchased with the same budget as

  • The Palm Island in Dubai
  • The Burj Kalifa in Dubai
  • The Big Dug in Boston
  • The Three Gorges Dam in China
  • The Chunnel between France and England
  • A supercarrier
  • etc.


So many years ago, we all thought that these spectacular projects could never be realized.

Today, many of us think it is totally impossible to get all the hungry people growing their own fresh food.


And what about you ?


Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.