Jajpur Women’s Nutrition Gardens Provide Sustainable Living During Lockdown

Jajpur: Laxmi Priya Mohanta from Sulia in Danagadi block of Jajpur has become a popular face in the village. While most of the people in her community have been facing difficulty stocking up their ingredient inventory during the coronavirus pandemic, her nutrition garden has never been more valuable. She has been growing vegetables of diverse kinds for the last two years, which has been a boon for her family during the lockdown period.

“My garden is spread over 350 sq ft and I use waste water in the process of farming. I don’t have to worry about going to the market to buy vegetables because the produce from my garden is enough to sustain my family,” said the lady in her 40s.

In a number of households in nearby areas, nutrition gardens started by women have been a boon for sustainable living and are setting an example. During the lockdown, not only did it help boost the household’s access to fresh food while staying at home, it also ensured a healthy diet that contains adequate amounts of essential nutrients by producing diverse kinds of vegetables.

Phulo Soren from Sansailo panchayat has two children at home. “We have rice stocked from this year’s harvest and have also received ration through PDS, but it is also important to provide them with the right kind of nutrients to make them immune during such times. I set up the garden during December last year and am realising its importance now,” she said.

The trend started around a year ago, when women realised that it was necessary to contribute to their family in some way or the other. In that region, a lot of people work in industries and in mines as labourers who usually grow paddy in Kharif season and leave most of their land fallow during Rabi and Zaid seasons.

“Once we started doing nutrition gardening, we had something or the other to grow throughout the year. We came to know about it through a development sector organisation working in our area and then we started experimenting amongst each other to get maximum benefit. During lockdown, we did not have to depend on local markets to fulfill our daily needs, we had it all in our backyards,” added Phulo.

Generally, the local communities here eat two to three types of vegetables. After introducing these nutritional gardens, they have started to grow and consume various types of vegetables, like okra, leafy vegetables, pumpkin, tomatoes and radish among others.

Jhuna Nayak set up her garden in January this year. “We are a family of 10 including 4 children and the produce is enough to provide the right amount of nutrients for all of us. We grow more than 12 varieties of vegetables including green and leafy ones. Earlier my in-laws used to grow a few vegetables in our backyard but it was on a very limited scale and was seasonal,” she said.

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