Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) has released the guidelines for setting up School Nutrition (Kitchen) Gardens. School Nutrition Garden would help in addressing malnutrition and micro-nutrition deficiencies among school children. Apart from the nutritional aspect, these gardens would also be a part of experiential learning for students.
All schools in Urban and Rural areas have been asked to set up a School Nutrition (Kitchen) Garden in their premises. Schools can seek technical, infrastructural and other support from various government departments and agencies.
"Technical assistance, training, provision of seeds, sapling, organic manure etc. can be obtained in convergence with various line departments/agencies like Krishi Vigyan Kendras, Department of Agriculture/Horticulture, Food & Nutrition Board, State Agriculture Universities, Forest Department etc. Moreover, activities like construction of boundary wall, levelling of land etc. can be taken up under MGNREGA."
One of the main objectives of the School Nutrition Gardens is to teach students the skill of growing their own food.
The MHRD guidelines also outlines how these gardens can help in reducing the harmful effects of climate change. The plants in the school kitchen garden would help store carbon from atmosphere in the soil. Also, growing food locally would reduce the need to transport food from other places thus decreasing contribution to carbon emission from vehicles which are used to transport food products.
There are 11.75 lakh government and government aided schools in India and one school kitchen in each school can have substantial impact on the climate.
India is not the first country to introduce School Kitchen Garden for its children. Finland has a similar programme, Model Vihti where children grow seedlings indoors, prepare the soil, and plant, sow, and harvest edible crops.
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