Katamati: Tata Steel Foundation has been spearheading several livelihood initiatives for the community based in and around Deojhar village located in Keonjhar district, Odisha. One such initiative is kitchen gardening. Till date, over 479 households across 14 villages surrounding Deojhar village have benefitted through kitchen gardens set-up by Tata Steel Foundation.
Establishing these kitchen gardens has solved a critical pain point of the community in these villages: easy access to fresh and nutritious vegetables. Usually, the local communities in these villages grow one variety of vegetable in their backyard. After rounds of orientation, they have started three-layer farming, which comprises of leafy, bushy and cripper produce. Multi-layer farming has enabled farmers to grow vegetables round the year as there is less risk of a complete crop failure. This way of farming has also helped in better utilisation of natural resources and a greater yield stability in diverse environmental conditions.
Chintamani Behra from Deojhar, who has been practicing kitchen gardening, says’ “I and my family showed a lot of interest in kitchen gardening after we realised the benefits it provided. Now, we don’t have to depend on the local markets for our daily requirement of vegetables”. In this initiative, Tata Steel Foundation has been providing training to farmers along with the necessary resources such as seeds and manure to assist them in creating kitchen gardens.
Kitchen gardens have provided a regular supply of vegetables for daily use and a means to ensure a nutritious and well-balanced diet. Several families have now been able to fulfil all their daily food requirements solely through kitchen gardens, which are usually set-up in the backyards of their houses. This has especially been a boon during the pandemic and nationwide lockdown that began in March this year.