The art of kitchen gardening is transforming the lives, incomes and health of families across rural India. Promoted as part of ACF’s health programme, this intervention played a crucial role in feeding families and generating incomes during the pandemic - at a time when supplies were restricted during lockdown and going to busy markets, a risk.
Anita Tomar went from being a housebound wife to being a role model to women for kitchen gardening in just 1.5 years – motivating more than 140 families to start their own vegetable garden in her village and surroundings.
From a very traditional and backward community, Anita first started kitchen gardening to help her daughter Prachi, who suffered from Anaemia. Over time she saw first-hand, the health improvement in her daughter by having fresh, green leafy vegetables readily available in their backyard.
She soon agreed to show other women her garden as a ‘demonstration plot’ and women began visiting her home to see and learn from her work.
And the benefits have been innumerable. The kitchen garden supported her family during lockdown when it was difficult to go to market. Her relationship with neighbours has strengthened as she shares vegetables with them. And by eating iron-rich spinach from her kitchen garden as part of her diet to address a vision problem, her eyesight is expected to improve.
Best of all, her husband now helps her with the garden – weeding, watering, harvesting and planting. He stopped drinking, secured a job as an electrical assistant, and on seeing Anita’s transformation, is ready to support her in whatever endeavor she wants to pursue.
And Anita has big dreams. She wants to buy 1 more cow and has her sights set on learning how to make and sell pickles(using her own vegetables of course). She has become a Village Volunteer, managing 18 SHGs in the area, and mobilising 300 women to join the SHG movement.
In an area crippled by spurious liquor sales, women are harshly affected and like Anita, their lives are slowly elevating thanks to SHG support and kitchen gardening interventions.
- 140 women with kitchen gardens
- Rs. 800-1000 additional income generated per month
- Decrease in prevalence of severely malnourished children under the age of 5