Manjari Foundation - Developing women's organizations at the grassroots.

Kitchen Gardening; A source of nutritious & Healthy Food Plate

manjari

February 24, 2019

stories of change

Background:

Malnutrition is a big challenge in India, Global Nutrition Report 2106 and WHO consider poor nutrition as the most important threat to world health. An estimated 45 percent of deaths of children under the age of 5 are linked to malnutrition. As per the Census of 2011, 65% of the Indian population depends on agriculture for their livelihoods and income. Due to the various challenges still rural communities are not able to access quality of nutritious food that affects women and children adversely. When Sakhi team started working through Self Help Groups (SHGs) in villages, lack of year round food security & low income from agriculture were the most pertinent issues.

The problems and the earlier situation

In most of the villages there was a lack of understanding on the concept of kitchen garden and malnutrition as well. Unlike other SHG members, Seema a resident of Pavtiya village of Chittorgarh and her family members were also not aware about the utility and importance of kitchen garden and how kitchen gardening can help their family to combat with the issue of access to green vegetable and addressing malnutrition. Likely other SHG women she was not aware about the concept of vitamins, minerals and proteins for their body.

Under Sakhi program Sakhi team encouraged SHG women for developing Kitchen Garden. A key intervention was to enable educate and facilitate women farmers to grow locally available foods at their own land and near area of house hold mostly for consumption. The kitchen garden focuses to grow green vegetables.

Encouragement, Training and Support

During SHG meetings, first time Seema heard about the kitchen garden. With the continuous trainings by Sakhi team, Seema and other fellow SHG members started realizing why having a range of fruit and vegetables in diets are important.

Sakhi team conducted series of training how to grow and develop kitchen garden. Sakhi team also provided quality seeds and other relevant information like timely nursery, watering, weeding, hoeing and pest management as well. The unique thing of this intervention was that whole SHG members were participated in the process of learning and growing vegetables.

The Remarkable Journey

  1. Seema was the first lady in her group who eagerly ready to take up Kitchen Gardening. On 7 June 2017, with the support of Sakhi team, she cultivated and grew her own kitchen garden. Now she has a flourishing garden with many green vegetables of her own.
  2. Now, Seema can reel off a huge range of vegetables that she grows: tomatoes, Patta Gobhi (cabbage), Green Chilli), Bringal (Aubergine), Bhindi (Okra), Gawar Fali and spinach.
  3. “Because of my kitchen garden, we have fresh vegetables in our own backyard practically throughout the year,” she says happily. “While I still go to the haat (vegetable market) every week to buy fresh vegetables and meat, the number of trips I make and the money I spend on buying vegetables is less than before. When I buy, I remember what I can take from my garden and then only buy what I need.”

Now after seeing the successful experience of Seema Devi many more families have started to grow Kitchen Gardening. Through the intervention of Kitchen Garden families who were either hardly eating vegetables or eating them in smaller quantities due to their purchasing power parity, started to cook vegetable based on their requirements. Now their food plates are nutritious and healthy.

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