All schools in India have been asked to set up “school nutrition gardens” by the central government. The gardens will have to be managed by the students, with the help of staff and teachers.
The Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD), which governs the education sector, issued guidelines for developing and maintaining kitchen gardens in schools in both urban and rural areas. The Government’s aim is to improve nutrition in schools, and also to connect children with the sources of food in an era of rapid urbanization and mounting environmental issues.
However, some schools have already embarked upon this journey well before the official guidelines came into place. One such is the Smt. Sulochanadevi Singhania School, Thane (Mumbai, India).
Students have been introduced to not just growing food within the school themselves, but grow it organically, without synthetic chemical inputs. The aim of the project has been to grow chemical-free, nutrient-rich vegetables and to provide an opportunity to learn by doing. The project is to teach the students how organic farming discourages environmental exposure to pesticides and chemicals, helps to build healthy soil, fight the effects of global warming and encourages biodiversity.
The students have sowed a wide variety of vegetables including cucumbers, chillies, lady’s fingers (okra), tomatoes, brinjals, spinach, bottle gourd, bitter gourd, ridge gourd, and capsicum, to name a few. The students have also planted paddy, to get hands-on experience of rice farming.
(Photos courtesy Smt Sulochana Singhania School, Thane, Mumbai. Check out more pictures on the school’s Facebook album.)