Nutrition Garden in Unused Land

My name is Krishna Bahadur Shrestha and I am a teacher at Shree Janata Lower Secondary School, Nayabazaar, Dailekh district. After being selected as a Rural Service Provider (RSP) under the project, Nutrition in Mountain Agro-ecosystems (NMA), I have been implementing a micro-intervention at the school’s vegetable and fruit garden since 2016 to improve the health and nutrition of the community. Currently, there are 292 students (169 girls and 123 boys) enrolled in the school – this number represents 2,248 family members who belong to different castes and ethnicities.

After the micro intervention was started, I conducted a baseline survey of 20 women-headed households of the students to understand their food habits and nutrition intake. The findings suggested that most household consumed only a few food groups resulting in low nutrition intake. Besides, people lacked nutrition education, particularly the importance of nutritious food to human health, the knowledge about nutrient contents of available food and ways to preserve them.
Afterwards, I organized an event to orient students, the school management committee, teachers and guardians about the project, its activities and its relevance. I also interact with them regularly on subjects related to nutrition and nutrition sensitive agriculture. Based on the discussion with concerned stakeholders in the district, a curriculum on kitchen garden has been designed. I teach the students this subject at the school to impart to them knowledge and skills about homestead garden and its relation to human nutrition. We hold various educational activities and contests like quiz, local song competition and drawing contest focusing on nutrition education each Friday at the school. The students have practically demonstrated school vegetable garden and have learn about seeding, raising seedlings in nursery, transplanting, manuring and irrigating. They also learn how to cook and eat these vegetables, the proper way.

The school has generated some income by selling the surplus vegetables and fruits which it uses to purchase prizes for educational contests.

The guardians have been provided technical support to establish household level kitchen garden, collect and use waste water, and supported with agricultural inputs (e.g., vegetable seeds, plastic sheet, etc.). These activities contribute to changing the behavior of people and are expected to improve their health and nutrition.

This micro intervention has helped to increase the knowledge on nutrition among the students as well as their skills on seeding, planting and raising vegetables in kitchen garden. These skills are now replicated by around 175 families; 2,248 people have been educated on nutrition and the importance of nutritious food for human health. The guardians are aware of utilizing locally available resources for producing vegetables; they know how to collect waste and grey water, establish kitchen garden for their family even in limited land. Thus, this micro intervention has been exemplary in Dailekh district in terms of promoting and improving the nutrition status of rural people through school education.