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Abstract,  Biological Agriculture and Horticulture, 2012

The attainment of the Millennium Development Goals is at severe risk owing to rising malnutrition and high child stunting and mortality rates, greater poverty, a large increase in the incidence of non-communicable diseases and lack of progress in women's empowerment. Here we review the role of vegetable home, school, community and disaster recovery gardens as a pro-poor and pro-environment intervention in the developing world. This includes their contribution in improving food and nutritional security, garnering additional income, providing employment, contributing to better health and helping to empower disadvantaged groups in society. The implications of global research in the tropics and sub-tropics over the last 20-30 years are assessed over a very wide geographic and linguistic range. The effectiveness and sustainability of such interventions are considered in the light of their contribution to the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals. Suggestions for potential new directions for research are made and a call for better integration of effort in research and development between the agriculture, nutrition and health sectors is presented as a key issue if rapid development progress is to be made and sustained.

Keywords: diet; food production; malnutrition; Millennium Development Goals; vegetable gardens