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Urban Family Gardening

© Ashleigh Klingman
Ashleigh and local children, Urban Family Gardening
© Ashleigh Klingman


As part of our Connecting with Nature Programme, GCT has partnered with Education 4 Nature Galapagos (E4NG) to facilitate opportunities for families in Galapagos to grow their own food, cultivate endemic plants, and connect with nature through the Urban Family Gardening project.

Project Partners

Hacienda Tranquila S.A Galapagos Education 4 Nature Galapagos

COVID-19 in Galapagos

Tourist photographing wildlife in Galapagos

80 %

of the local economy relies on tourism, which halted in March 2020

Urban Family Gardening project, Galapagos


families participated in the UFG project between 2021-2022

Opuntia cactus, Galapagos

97 %

of Galapagos is National Park, leaving just 3% for community life

Food market in Santa Cruz, Galapagos

75 %

of fresh food consumed on the Islands is imported from the mainland

Children planting vegetables in Galapagos
© Ashleigh Klingman

The problem

During the COVID-19 pandemic, families in Galapagos faced financial hardship due to the sudden halt in tourism (making up 80% of the local economy) and reliance on produce imported from mainland Ecuador (over 1/3 of all fresh food). In partnership with a small sustainable agricultural farm in the highlands of San Cristobal named Hacienda Tranquila (HTSA), we kickstarted the Urban Family Gardening (UFG) project as part of our Connecting with Nature programme to support local families to grow their own produce and cultivate endemic plants.  

Throughout the first year of the project, we reached 525 families and 21 local teachers, all provided with crops and endemic plant seeds, an educational gardening pack and experiential activities at the HT farm. Over time the project has evolved from ensuring self-sustainability to promoting eco-literacy, adapting to climate change and empowering families to connect with nature through engaging educational resources, impactful outdoor outreach activities and collaboration with local teachers.

The De La Torre Sanchez family with their garden in Galapagos

We feel this type of project is essential for families given the challenges COVID-19 has posed. Our daughter Melody has named her plants, and we all enjoy a moment of peace as we care for them daily.

The De La Torre Sanchez family
Urban Family Gardening project in Galapagos
© Ashleigh Klingman

How we’re tackling it

By encouraging and supporting local people as they learn to grow their own food so they can become self-sufficient, we can help mitigate some of the financial hardship the Galapagos community faces.This project highlights the key goal of Galapagos Conservation Trust’s Connecting with Nature programme to ensure that more young people have the chance to get out and experience the natural world around them. By making nature more accessible, we will inspire families and instill passion in the future ambassadors of Galapagos for the incredible wildlife with which they share their Islands. 

Our project builds community through purposeful human-nature interactions and deepens the respect for nature amongst local families. The project will continue developing the teacher network by providing educational resources and helping to co-design classroom projects and outdoor educational activities and field trips.

Educational memory game for children in Galapagos
© Galapagos Science Center

Project goals

  • Engage local youth and families to empower them to forge a deeper relationship with nature and protect the unique biodiversity of Galapagos. 
  • Promote eco-literacy and stewardship of unique wildlife with endemic plant species stories on San Cristobal and Floreana islands. 
  • Support teachers by helping to design classroom projects, formalise activities into educational resources, and co-design comparative place-based education outdoor activities and field trips.

Project updates

Urban Family Gardening project, Galapagos
21st Feb 2024
Education and outreach Women in science

One woman’s mission to connect families with gardening and endemic plant conservation

Ashleigh Klingman, founder of Education 4 Nature Galapagos, discusses creating a community gardening project during the pandemic and how connecting people with nature strengthens conservation ethics.
Read more
7th Jul 2021
COVID-19 Education and outreach

Urban Family Gardening: Positivity amidst the pandemic

Despite facing dozens of outdoor education group cancellations for 2020, the Hacienda Tranquila team, led by project coordinator Ashleigh Klingman, optimised resources and know-how to find a silver lining in the COVID-19 pandemic.
Read more
Gills Club
27th May 2021
Education and outreach Events

Connecting with Nature webinar 2021

Through a series of short videos and talks, our webinar explored how we engage children and teenagers throughout their education, and how we encourage them to protect the Islands and ensure that Galapagos remains a place of wonder.
Read more
16th Dec 2020

2020 Successes!

As we approach the end of 2020, we want to say thank you so much for all your support in what has been an extremely difficult year.
Read more

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