GHS Shyanubhoganahalli, Karnataka
“I saw a hungry man and taught him how to fish.” Most of us are familiar with this saying. It implies that imparting life skills is essential for empowering a community. In line with the saying, learning how to grow our own food in a kitchen garden is an essential element in a child’s holistic development. It is one of the finest examples of experimental learning for school children. The joy of watching something they built is untold and students learn ownership, team building, social skills, and healthy food alternatives through a kitchen garden. This concept can also be used to develop numeracy skills including measurements, area and volumes, data gathering, and presentation.
The concept of the kitchen garden is not new, however, a few guidelines were introduced by Human Resource Department for government schools in 2019. The purpose of setting up the kitchen garden in schools is to give students a lifelong skill and encourage them to go home and grow their garden, in whatever space is available using the knowledge and skills they learned in school.
To provide nutritious food, the school leadership, teachers, and students of GHS Shyanubhoganahalli, Karnataka set up a kitchen garden within the school premises in 2018. Since its inception, the Eco club of the school has been leading this initiative to cultivate vegetables in a designated area. It is a collaborative effort of students, teachers, and the community to cultivate nutritious vegetables.
The members of the Eco club chose a suitable place on the school premises, where the plants can get direct sunlight for the maximum duration of the day. Also, a drainage system is created to get the required water flow from the water system in the school. The Eco club has come up with the idea of mulching the trees by making cement rings around them so that they are protected from foot traffic and the weeds are suppressed easily. They have started using these rings to dispose of the kitchen waste and dry leaves into them so that the disposed of food turns into soil nutrients. This soil is in turn used as the compost for the kitchen garden.
The President of the Eco club, Monika, grade 9 student said, “To maintain the kitchen garden is always fun thing to do.
We grow a variety of vegetables like tomato, drumstick, Hyacinth Beans, spinach, cucumber, and fruits like papaya and banana. In this process, we explore many concepts relating to the environment, horticulture, natural manure, climate changes, etc. It is like the most exciting
laboratory for us. Some of our friends have started making the small kitchen gardens at their houses as well.”
Eco club in charge teacher, Mrs. Meenaxi Beli delightfully expresses that the club leader and members have taken on the kitchen garden responsibilities. “They learn how to grow vegetables and how to make natural manure. The cultivation of different varieties of greens and vegetables is practically the best activity to gain knowledge for students. It’s the best way to teach students.”, she said.
The Head Master Mrs. Manjula KS derives a lot of satisfaction that the students of her school can get nutritious food and states that the initiative has helped students in many ways – from acquiring good health that leads to improved cognitive abilities, to improving knowledge of agriculture and environment.
The kitchen garden is one of the low-cost- high-impact activities that the schools can adopt. The story of GHS Shyanubhoganahalli sets a perfect example of Kitchen Garden.
By Guruprasad C, Academic Mentor, Ramanagara – Karnataka.
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