Kitchen Gardening is practiced worldwide, and is considered world’s most ancient food production practice. It is the most sustainable medium to get access to micronutrients, especially for poor households to combat food insecurity and have nutritional diversity. Establishment of Kitchen garden in rural area is easy, at the same time lead to great benefits, in terms of direct access to important nutrients that are otherwise not easily available or not within the economic reach. Spectra Organization, in its program, Integrated Livelihood Development Project (ILDP) took this profitable initiative as one of its project activities, realizing the benefit the backyard kitchen gardening can provide to the families. From improving the nutritional status of small and marginal farmers to adding substantially to the family income, kitchen gardening is a wholesome cost-effective approach.
Since ILDP aims to empower rural women holistically, providing attention to the improvement of nutritional status of these women and her family is considered very important. What better course of action than the approach of kitchen gardening, as it ensures a continuous flow of subsistence food products in the household diet, leading to decrease of diseases caused due to micro-nutrient deficiency. This helps the women to maintain a good health of her family, as well as has the potential to promote entrepreneurship. On our every visit to the Project area of ILDP, the women are always enthusiastic to show their kitchen garden. It brings them utmost joy and happiness to talk about how the garden has tremendously helped them in accessing nutritious food as well as provided an assistance in saving their money and add on to family income.
Spectra Organization have been distributing Kitchen Gardening Seeds since the initiation of this project (July 2020) to the women in the SHGs. The kit consists of 12 types of vegetable seeds which are Methi, Singri, Dhaniya, Radish, Mustard, Rai, Carrot, Matar, Salgam, Palak, tomato and Bottle Gourd. The distributing of the kit is carried out in Kishangarh Bas and Umrain Block of Alwar District of Rajasthan. The cost of one vegetable seed kit is Rs 100. So far we have distributed 350 kit reaching 350 families. This approach has led to saving Rs 50 per day for each family on average, summing upto saving of approximately Rs 1500 per month per family.
Phul Bai, a beneficiary of the initiative from Dadikar Village of Umrain Block of Rajasthan says, ‘I have been providing nutritious food to my family ever since team spectra have guided me to establish the kitchen garden at my Backyard. It gives me utmost pleasure to provide my family fresh vegetables right from the plants. Apart from being able to have nutritious filled vegetables, I have also managed to save some money, as I don’t have to often use money in buying vegetables. Moreover, I am glad that anybody coming to my house would not go away without having a meal from my kitchen garden. I also have a shop where I sell surplus produce occasionally’. Another Beneficiary, Pinki ji, from Nangalmojiya, Gram Panchayat Sainthli, who has been a member of Prachi SHG says, ‘we are highly benefited from the Kit as it provides us seeds of diverse vegetables in just Rs 100. It is cost effective and a great source of accessing micronutrients. The vegetables grown are chemical free, much healthier than the market. Even during the times of Lockdown, we did have access to nutritious food’.
All the households, who are beneficiaries of Kitchen Garden initiative under the ILDP project use organic method of cultivation including organic manure. With less dependent on chemical fertilizers, the produce from the kitchen garden makes it an environment friendly approach too. Moreover, the waste from the kitchen as well as animal waste is used for enriching the soil quality, making it eco-friendly and sustainable way of vegetable production. Kitchen gardening indeed provides a way for these rural women to strengthen the nutritional input in their families. By taking this approach of sustainable way of organic vegetable production, family health as well as food security has been enhanced.

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