One Earth’s Project Marketplace funds on-the-ground climate solutions that are key to solving the climate crisis through three pillars of collective action — renewable energy, nature conservation, and regenerative agriculture. This project supports sustainable livelihoods in rural Cambodia through the establishment of victory gardens.
Poverty rates in Cambodia's Pursat Province have risen, with over 22% of people earning less than USD 2.7 daily. Women bear the brunt of this challenging situation as they resort to hard labor or relocate to garment factory jobs to support their families.
Moreover, rural Cambodians face the impacts of climate change as floods, droughts, and heat spells become more frequent. Compounding the issue is monocropping, or relying on a single crop, which depletes soil nutrients and damages the land.
This project, led by Face-to-Face, will establish gardens, predominantly tended by women, to provide nutritious food for their families and communities. It aims to work harmoniously with nature to restore the land and create sustainable livelihoods for these growers.
Creating a cycle of regenerative agriculture practices
The two-year Victory Garden Campaign will empower 2,200 families to cultivate gardens. Victory Gardens promote organic permaculture, plant diversification, trees, and other practical, low or no-cost strategies.
As more gardeners adopt, experiment with, and teach these strategies, they develop their ingenuity and leadership skills. Building confidence, self-reliance, and resilience, this team of mostly women will train additional villagers in these practices.
Making home gardening available to everyone
Under the guidance of the USA's Face-to-Face Project, Face-to-Face Cambodia and its two female staff members manage all Victory Garden Campaign activities. They instruct villagers in garden creation, conduct workshops introducing new practices, provide leadership training, and organize public events.
The project seeks to integrate victory gardens into daily village life so that anyone can participate—rich or poor, young or old, women or men, healthy or disabled, political or apolitical. Involving a diverse group of community members fosters engagement, as home gardening places everyone on equal footing.
Meeting women where they are and providing opportunities
Over 80% of participants are women, and as many caretakers in this community are also women—perhaps caring for a disabled child or an elderly parent—the gardens enable them to stay home, grow food, and earn income.
This also applies to elderly, widowed, or divorced women who can look after children and still earn money while staying home. Gardens help women avoid physically demanding day labor, which can lead to serious injury, and factory jobs that often require them to live apart from their families.
Improving money management and savings
As they become more engaged with the Victory Garden Campaign, women form bonds with fellow gardeners, exchanging ideas and practices while learning to generate and manage money. Income from a garden may not seem substantial, but a small profit each week, combined with the absence of vegetable costs and minimal expenses, enables people to pay off debts and increase their savings.
Nurturing communities and their land
Thanks to their home victory gardens, 10,000 people in 2,200 Cambodian rural households will benefit from increased food access, improved nutrition, significant income, and reduced debt. As diverse gardens mitigate the risk of relying on a single crop, these families will experience stability and resilience as the land heals through regenerative practices.
Simultaneously, numerous women will emerge as effective, compassionate community leaders who educate and motivate other impoverished individuals to rely on themselves to lift their families out of poverty.