“ I am happy to say that now my child is able to consume vegetables which are free from pesticides and my expenditure has been reduced towards shopping of vegetables which are grown with deadly chemicals”-Khaleda- Masood SHG, Gupteshwar GP.
Kitchen Garden initiative was first started under Borsola block in Borbhogia Gram Panchayat. The idea is to provide organic vegetables to SHG women. It was observed that in many houses across different Gram Panchayats there has been a lot of vacant space in the back yard of each house hold. Thereafter, it was during our line department orientation the CPDO of ICDS department raised the problem of mal nutrition among the children under Borsola block. As part of our VO orientation the women were asked about their interest on the concept of building a vegetable garden in their house hold. The SHG women showed interest in the concept and thereafter the process was initiated with the help of agriculture department.
How was the problem identified?
i) Malnutrition status from ICDS:- Data was collected from ICDS department which revealed the problem the problem of malnutrition among children of different households. The data was shared with the agriculture department by the Internal mentors.
ii) Meeting s with SHGs and VOs: Meetings were conducted among each SHG to explain the concept to kitchen garden and its various benefits. The meetings were conducted by the LRGs of respective Gram Panchayats.
Process towards Action
i) Meeting with Agriculture department:- After the initial meeting was held it was advised by the department official to arrange for a meeting with the community which would have representatives both from department, BMMU and presence of Internal Mentors and LRGs.
ii) Motivational classes to VO by Agriculture Department:- ADO and Extension Officer has asked the Internal Mentors and LRGs to ensure participation from community towards this initiative. The meeting was first conducted in Borbhogia Gram Panchayat which had good number in terms of participants. The officials had given them awareness on the health hazards involved in the vegetables which are sold in the market. ADO also spoke about the nutritional value of the different vegetables and the benefits of organic vegetables.
iii) Survey by LRGs:- A format was prepared by agriculture department for conducting the survey. The formats comprised of the amount of land a beneficiary posses, daily consumption of vegetables and number of members in the family. A photograph should also be taken of the land in order to assess the amount of vegetables which can be grown.
iv) Finalization of beneficiary by LRGs and VOCC:- Once the survey was completed the formats were shared to the agriculture department and VOCC. The VOCC and agriculture department scrutinized the formats and a list was finalised by the VOCC and LRGs.
v) Technical training by Agriculture Department: Technical training was provided by ADO to the identified beneficiaries at the Gram Panchayat premises and VOCC rooms. The session comprised pictorial presentations of various models of kitchen garden across the country. A diet chart comprising of the nutritional value of each vegetable was also shown.
vi) Preparation of kitchen garden beds and distribution of seeds: In order to build a model plot for kitchen garden the plot was identified in Borghogia Gram Panchayat. Training was given by the department as to how the beds should be maintained and a seasonal calendar was provided to identify the time of each vegetable which could be grown. The bed size was modified based on the amount of land which the beneficiary has in the backyard. The department has also provided with seeds for ladies finger, brinjal etc. But, in order to make the model sustainable the SHG women were asked to purchase their own seeds and reduce their expenditure on purchase from market on vegetables.
vii) Regular monitoring by Department, VOCC and LRGs: Agriculture department has been constantly monitoring the progress of the initiative by random visits to the field. A group was also opened in consultation with BMMU and regular updates are taken by the ADO from the different VOCC coordinators.
viii) Food Habits: It was observed during the interaction in field the families of SHG women were consuming food which didn’t have much of a nutrition advantage.
Role of VOCC:- After the initial meeting was conducted VOCC was made to organise training along with the support from Agriculture department. The mobilization was done by LRGs and the initiation was done by VOCC. The VOCC members also verified the list of beneficiaries along with the Agriculture department. Moreover, constant follow up is being carried out by VOCC and the trainings are organised by VOCC members at regular intervals. On the other hand, VOCC inspects each and every house olds along with the growth in each vegetables.
Current Status:- The initiative was started in Borbhogia Gram Panchayat where at present 15 house olds have successfully adopted the model. Subsequently, the model has been replicated to other Gram Panchayats of the block. So far 50 house olds have been covered under 5 Gram Panchayats under Borsola block. The aim is to take this model to 11 Gram Panchayats and to promote healthy eating habits among the SHG families of the block.
Future Plans:- The model would be expanded to all the 11 Gram Panchayats in the coming months. The initiative would be expanded in a chain where the support from the department would be reduced gradually and SHG members would be taking it up on their own.
Voices from the field:
“ My back yard not used to be so beautiful as it looks now. Earlier, when the LRG came for survey I was apprehensive about the model. But, after ADO sir gave us the training I got to know the benefit of growing organic vegetables at home. Now, with the passage of time, I am able to feed my children. Also, I don’t have to rely on the market to get vegetables. I want to expand my kitchen garden by planting more seeds for different vegetables. My children are also consuming healthy vegetables and it will also reduce the burden of health related expenditure in my family”- Jolekha, SHG member Gupteshwar Gram Panchayat, Borsola block
“I used to grow vegetables in my back yard since long. But, I was not aware about the nutritional value of each vegetable The training which Agriculture department provided us opened my eyes and I felt that I being the mother of two children should adopt this practise. The model will really help me to grow more vegetables in a systematic manner. I don’t have to go to market now to buy vegetables and now I know the value of growing vegetables in my own land. It gives me satisfaction that the vegetables cooked in my kitchen has no pesticides..................this model should be adopted by all SHG women in my Gram Panchayat.- Sahela Khatoon, SHG member, Borbhogia Gram Panchayat
“Earlier, schemes used to come to the department and it was quite difficult for me and my team to mobilise people for meeting Initially, I was quite apprehensive regarding the success of the model. But, looking at the dedication from Internal Mentors, LRGs, VOCC and External mentor I had to change my mind and support the team towards making this initiative a fruitful one. The mission seemed to be impossible at the beginning but with the support under PRI-CBO Convergence project my role became quite easy because the survey and mobilization was done by Internal Mentors and LRGs. We are able to produce organic vegetables and I am hopeful that in the long run the SHG women would be able to sell their produce in the local markets. Now, we should expand it to all the Gram Panchayats under Borsola block and the model should be taken to other parts of the state.- Zakir Hussain, ADO Borsola block.