The Kastom Gaden story

Blue Seas and Bush Gardens:

The story of the Kastom Garden Program in the Solomon Islands relates the history of this innovative, AusAID funded project that worked in community food security and small scale agricultural training with villagers.

…produced by TerraCircle and authored by Russ Grayson

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The experience of the Kastom Garden Programme (KGP) has been documented in – Blue Seas and Bush Gardens, amended March 2006. The book was published by the regional intergovernmental organisation, the South Pacific Commission (now the Secretariat for the Pacific Community) and documents the history of the programme, what worked and what did not work.

Written by Russ Grayson, who worked with Sydney-based NGO APACE (Appropriate Technology for Community and Environment) as project and development education officer, Blue Seas is based on a participatory evaluation of the KGP carried out in the Solomon Islands.

The book provides a context by looking at the global and regional situation in which the KGP operated, outlines the history of the project from its start in 1995 until it ended in 2001 and reports evaluation findings. The start-up of KGP successor organisation, the Kastom Gaden Association, is covered as well as KGP manager Tony Jansen’s early fact-finding visit to Bougainville.

Information useful to NGOs

The idea for Blue Seas and Bush Gardens came from the need to evaluate the KGP as it approached the end of its AusAID funding in the late-1990s.

Project staff wanted to identify the learnings of the programme. The evaluation was financed by APACE’s Research and Development fund and involved travel in the Solomons and research in the Sydney office of APACE. Rather than producing an evaluation report in conventional form the decision was made to document the evaluation findings in narrative form as a book to make it accessible to a wider readership.

Blue Seas and Bush Gardens is of interest to NGO staff and to people interested in the grass-roots approach to regional development.

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