Bhubaneswar: Sri Aurobindo School of Integral Education at Khandagiri here is laying a foundation of a different kind. It is the habit of safe and healthy eating. Keeping this in mind, the school is working on a nutritional garden on its premises.
The students have been actively involved in the process, which included preparing fields and planting of saplings. “Children are taking keen interest in the initiative and helping in gardening during their free time. They are now eagerly waiting to reap the fruits of their labour,” said principal of the school Rabindra Nath Padhi.
An initiative of India for Eco Food Campaign-BhoomiKA, the urban gardening project to access clean and organic food began with identification of available space on the school campus, cattle and buffalo shed, farm yard and cow urine collection spot.
“After assessing the space, requirement and resources, the team suggested appropriate vegetation and farm technologies,” said Campaign Coordinator Abhishek Dwivedy.
In the garden spread across 1000 square feet, leafy vegetables like Amaranthus (Poi), coriander, mint and vegetables like tomato, beans, bitter gourd, cucumber, ivy gourd, ridge gourd, cow pea, brinjal, pumpkin, lady’s finger and green chillies have been planted to take care of the students’ nutritional needs. Besides, some perennial plants like drum sticks, papaya, jack fruit and curry leaves too have been planted on the campus, he added.
The school has around 100 boarders, staying in the hostel, and the garden will be a rich source of fresh and green vegetables, grown organically, for them.
“We impressed upon the school to have a nutritional garden with an aim to create awareness among students about healthy and organic food. In an earlier session, we discussed the harmful impacts of junk food and those sprayed with pesticides on their health. Once aware of the disturbing tread in agriculture, they decided to grow their own food,” said Dr Jagatbandhu Mohapatra, Project Coordinator of India for Eco Food Campaign.