|Food from Dryland Gardens - An Ecological, Nutritional, and Social Approach to Small Scale Household Food Production (CPFE, 1991)|
|Part I - Gardens as a development strategy|
|4. Assessment techniques|
Identifying and understanding long-term trends in an assessment helps to ensure that changes made by the project will continue into the future. Awareness of these trends helps the community and its projects foresee and plan for changes.
For example, a common trend in the rural Third World is environmental degradation. In many regions deforestation is a serious problem which leads to soil erosion and desertification. The social implications of deforestation are equally serious and include big increases in time and energy spent collecting fuel wood, destruction of agricultural lands and their productivity, and loss of wild food sources for people and their animals. Frequently women bear most of the increased work burden because they are often responsible for providing their households with both fuel and wild, gathered foods.
Overall this trend may show the need to redistribute resources, lower consumption by some, and find sources of energy and income that will not destroy local resources. In terms of garden projects this may mean people have less time and energy for gardening. However, it could also mean gardens will be increasingly important as a source of fruits and vegetables, and income for purchasing fuel.
Other long-term trends that affect dryland community development efforts, including gardens, are dropping water tables, soil salinization, changes in land tenure such as increasing privatization, out-migration of young people, and changing eating patterns.