Kitchen Garden- As Learning School of Nature Farming
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While a wide variety of food is available in the markets, the plates of poor people are less nutritious and many times remain empty when there is scarcity of food or income. Kitchen garden emerged as an important means of securing safe and regular supply of vegetables to poor people in villages of Uttar Pradesh. Apart from fulfilling the nutritional needs of the family kitchen gardens have also emerged as ‘learning school’ of nature farming where farmers learnt the process of nature farming and then transformed their learning at farm level in Paddy, wheat and other crops. Hailing from a poor community Rekha Devi, a resident of Pachokhar village of Chandauli district of Uttar Pradesh told “I don’t have land. My husband work as labor and if we add vegetables in our diet, a large portion of income was spent on purchasing vegetables from the market.”
She was encouraged to set up a kitchen garden on an empty piece of land near her house. Shramik Bharti provided technical guidance and support for developing a kitchen garden with the help of HDFC Bank under its Gram Samridhi Project in U.P. Rekha & her husband were trained on nature farming to produce safe food free from hazardous chemicals and pesticides. Production of safe and fresh vegetables and fruits is giving Rekha Devi’s family access to important nutrition that was not within their budget to purchase from market. Additionally household is saving Rs. 1500/- per month that was used in purchasing of vegetables. There is another story of Ms. Chhaya Devi W/O Rajbabu Tiwari is resident of Tenduli village of Malwan Block of Fatehpur district in Uttar Pradesh. There are 5 members in her family.
With the mentoring of experts and regular support from the Gram Samridhi Project team Chhaya Devi prepared natural fertilizers and pesticides using cow dung and cow urine and this was quite easy for her as she was having 3 cows. She developed Kitchen Garden. Her efforts soon pay her the form of fresh and safe vegetables. “I used to purchase vegetables from market for our family consumption costing to Rs. 30/- per day. But now we get fresh & poison free vegetables from our kitchen garden and able to save approx. Rs. 900/- per month. And I will preserve seeds of vegetables and will ensure sale of seeds through seed bank and this will also help in enhancing income of my family” tells Chhaya Devi with a smile on her face.
To name a few, Sarju Prasad, Ramlakhan, Trilokinath, Rajpoot Singh, Omprakash, Mirzaram, Hemraj, Sita Devi, Jagannath are farmers who have now transforming their learning of nature farming in their farms and producing safe food not only for their family but for sale, also. “Around 600 farmers have adopted nature farming in project villages of Uttar Pradesh where Kitchen gardens; as learning school of nature farming are paving way towards health & nutrition, enhanced income, self employment and food security and in poor households in rural areas of Uttar Pradesh”