“Ushassu”, WEP’s rural program is located in a village outside of Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh. Here, twenty-six students live in small villages and travel one hour to study in a college. When the program was launched in 2008, staff noticed frequent absences due to illness. A meeting was held about health and students discussed their daily eating habits. Many didn’t have breakfast and most brought only rice and pickle for lunch.
Staff met with parents to speak about healthier meals and lunch boxes were soon filled with better meals. Staff and students then came up with the kitchen garden project. Today, 18 of the 26 students grow kitchen gardens and report that they are able to provide their families with vegetables once a week, and saved one trip to the village market.
Below are two reports from students about their gardens.
I am Hanumandla Santhosha, studying for my Inter 2nd
year . I have a large family with 2 older sister and one elder brother. We have two acres of assigned land . My mother and my elder sister go for labour work and we three are studying.
I am studying with the support of “Ushassu” Women Education Programme” .MVF WEP staff have told me to have a social goal in addition to my studies. As my social goal, I have set up plantation and clean and green programme as my social goal . We used to buy all vegetables from local market since we do not have nay agriculture. Since our entire family relied on my mother and elder sister’s labour wages, we were unable to buy vegetables we eat rice with pickles . During our training we were told just eating pickles will not give all the nutrients the body needs to maintain good health one should eat fresh vegetables for that we need to grow vegetables in our own house.
I spoke to my parents and we have started a kitchen garden. We have sown seed of 10 tomato seeds, 5 chilly plants, 5 local beans, 2 bottle gourd plants, 2 bitter gourd plants behind our home in 5×10 feet empty area. But local beans plants, bottle gourd plants and local beans plants were damaged by hens. Rest of the plants are flourishing.
While preparing the plot we dug up the soil very well, put cattle manure was put into that, everyday I used to spend 15 minutes for weeding and watering of this kitchen garden. Further we have also planted two drumstick sapling, one pomegranate sapling , one papaya sapling at once the same time.
Problems: Water is scarce . Since we do not have compound wall, cattle, & hens are damaging the vegetable crops.
||15 times x ½ kg
||7.5 kgs @ 20.00
||10 times x 750 grams
||7.5 kgs @ 12.00
||5 times x ¼ kg
||1 ¼ kgs @ 15.00
||10 times x ¼ kg
||2.5 kg @ 15.00
I am Poloju Srilatha doing my Inter 1st
year. I live in a village in the Ranga Reddy District we own a house but no other assets. My father does carpentry work and my mother do tailoring work at home during leisure time. My elder brother goes for labour work and we rest of the three are studying. Since we do not have own land, my father is a tenant farmer. I am studying Inter with the help of Ushassu WEP programme.
Use to buy vegetables everyday since we do not have own land to grow vegetables. As a result the expenditure for buying vegetables also increased. Later we used to buy pickles for sake of lunch instead of buying vegetables. As a result all our family members develop stomach pain and acidity. Doctor has suggested to us not to use pickles in our food regularly.
Immediately we have cleaned and leveled the area which is behind our house in the village and fixed fencing around our compound, we have sown the seeds of Tomato, chilly, brinjal, bottle gourd, ridge gourd, local beans, bitter gourd etc. Everyday we are spending 15 minutes time for weeding and watering and in Sunday we spending half an hour time for gardening works.
Due to these efforts, we could grow vegetables at home, as per our family requirements, for about 21/2 months. As we are growing vegetables near our house, we are able to cut and eat fresh vegetables as and when we start to cook. We never applied pesticides or chemical fertilizers while growing our kitchen garden. We could grow good vegetables, and consumed healthy food. We are excited about our kitchen garden..
||10 Kg @ 18.00
||6 Kg @ 12.00
||8 Kg @ 15.00
||5 Kg @15.00
||1 Kg @ 12.00
||250 Grams @ 10.00
||3 Kgs @ 40.00
The crop yield we got as above . We are also use flowers in festivals. If we get vegetables through kitchen garden through out the year we can reduce expenditure of buying vegetables and eat fresh vegetables. This is our aim.