Tata Steel Foundation promoting sustainable livelihood through kitchen garden

Joda : At a time when people in the Joda area were facing difficulties in procuring vegetables during the pandemic, Pinky Mishra was not only able to ensure a sustainable living for her family but also provide for nutritious meals.
In a number of households across the district of Keonjhar, nutrition gardens have come as a boon for sustainable living. During the lockdown, not only did it boost the household’s access to fresh food while keeping one at home, but also ensured a healthy diet that contains adequate amounts of essential nutrients by producing diverse kind of vegetables.
“I do not have to worry about going to the market to buy vegetables because the produce from my garden is enough to sustain my family. During the lockdown, when people were unable to travel to markets, I was relieved. A few women from the nearby areas also came up to me and I helped them implement the concept in their backyards,” she said.
Tata Steel Foundation has facilitated setting up around 800 such gardens in the proximate areas of its operations in Joda in FY’21. During the ongoing National Nutrition Week, various initiatives to spread awareness about the right nutrition were also taken up.
Renu Laguri from Bichakundi has grown more than five types vegetables apart from leafy species in her nutrition garden. “Generally, in our areas we grew one variety of vegetable in our backyards. After introducing the concept of nutrition garden, we have started to grow and consume more than 10 varieties of vegetables,” she said.
Regular trainings are provided and workshops are also hosted to promote nutrition gardening. Recently, they were oganised at Banspani Barik Sahi and Joda basti where more than 30 women participated.
“These nutritional gardens have played an important role in the lives of tribal communities by bringing about a change in their food habits with inclusion of vegetables having proteins, vitamins and fibres. Our team members regularly remain in touch with the farmers and provide them with the necessary inputs. We are gradually trying to commercialise the concept where women can increase the produce and sell it in the markets after keeping aside the requirement for their families,” says Ravindra Kumar, Unit Head, Tata Steel’s CSR Division at Joda.