Svarnim Puducherry under Sri Aurobindo Society is implementing nutritional kitchen gardens in 20 government schools of Puducherry as an experiential learning exercise. Here school children will learn from experienced farmers, the crux of farming, farm design, choice of seeds, their spacing, which crops to grow when and where, etc. They will also have a nutritional garden in their school thereby making them aware of a healthy diet and how the food they grow is poison-free and safe.
The sowing started on 5 January at the Abhishegapakkam Government High School and all the other 19 schools will be completed by the third week of January. The objective of this initiative is to give children hands-on experience on various agricultural activities being done on-farm and also imbibing the thought of a sustainable food production and at the same time instil a sense of gratitude and respect for farmers who work hard to feed us. The students will also learn about rain/rooftop water harvesting, knowledge of ponds/lakes and other water bodies including lagoons, channels, backwaters, etc., their eco-systems, eco-system services they provide to not only humans but the other life-forms as well.
The project is catalyzed and supported by National Council for Science & Technology Communication (NCSTC) division of the Department of Science & Technology, Government of India through two projects - one on Water Literacy at Schools & Neighbourhoods and another one on School Health Action Research Project (SHARP) under the Year of Awareness on Science & Health (YASH), a special drive by DST to address the challenge thrown open by the pandemic.
This initiative is directly implemented by the Svarnim Puducherry team headed by Dr. R. Senthilkumar and Ms.Hema Gobi along with the support from SP Team and is being implemented in collaboration with the Directorate of School Education, Govt. of Puducherry, and both the projects are also linked to the Jal Sakthi Abhiyan and Catch the Rain campaign of Govt. of India.
The enthusiasm shown by the children to learn new things and the enthusiasm shown by the farmers in transferring their knowledge to the younger generation is real proof that this project will be a massive success and will serve the community at large forever.