Arusha Edible Gardens – Arusha, Tanzania

Key Insights

  • Food skills for vulnerable women
  • Growing indigenous plants to improve food security
  • Enabling entrepreneurship and employment


Rapid urbanisation and the decline of the tourism sector led to rising poverty and food insecurity in Arusha, Tanzania. In particular, there is a lack of livelihood opportunities for vulnerable women. The Arusha Edible Gardens project began in 2014 on the banks of the Themi river, and includes an education pillar that aims to promote urban agriculture as a household food source and as a route to (self-)employment. The project focuses on plant-based foods, with an emphasis on growing and preparing indigenous edible plants. Following their participation, more than 200 women have created domestic gardens in the city and peri-urban area.


This case study version is from the Menu of Actions (2019). Suggested citation: Halliday, J., Platenkamp, L., Nicolarea, Y. (2019) A menu of actions to shape urban food systems for improved nutrition, GAIN, MUFPP and RUAF.

Woman in garden in Arusha (Tanzania), Shutterstock/Abdelrahman Hassanein

The action and its aims

The Arusha Edible Gardens (also known as S.A.F.E gardens) is a project consisting of five gardens on the banks of the river Themi. In the education area, vulnerable local women, female entrepreneurs and students learn about indigenous edible plants, how to grow them and how to cook healthy, plant-based meals. Information on innovative food production is available at the outdoor laboratory. The aim is to promote urban agriculture and agro-biodiversity both as a means for domestic food provisioning and as a route to (self-)employment in urban horticulture.

When it was introduced

The gardens were created in 2014.

Why it was needed

The driver was the need for initiatives to combat rising poverty and food insecurity, in the context of rapid urbanisation and decline of the tourism sector leading to significant job losses.

Who initiated it, who is involved

The project was funded by the City of Milan between 2014 and 2016. Three universities are involved: the University of Milano-Bicocca and the Nelson Mandela University are using the gardens for research on endangered horticultural species; the University of Insubria is providing analysis of landscape connections between Arusha’s urban centre and rural and peri-urban areas, as well as helping the municipality with urban planning.

Impacts to date

Around 200 women have created domestic edible gardens in the city of Arusha and peri-urban areas, and 30 more have found employment in running the popular on-site restaurant. City planners considered proposals for an urban agriculture zone in the new Arusha City Plan.

Do you have an update to this case study?

Contact us

Further reading

What can you do?

Learn about more themes and topics

Share your city’s case study and lessons learned

Sign up to receive updates

Learn more about upcoming events and other highlights 

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Food System

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) include a significant number of interconnected objectives related to agriculture and food.

Contact details



Related case studies