In India, the whole trajectory of the Covid19 infection is moving upwards more sharply. Recognising the importance of diet in maintaining immunity, we at GFF HELPS India started a Vegetable Garden Project, drawing inspiration from GFF HELPS Philippines’ project.
We initiated the project by first understanding the local cropping pattern in three villages, followed by assessing the major vegetables, fruits, herbs and spices specific to the area. We worked closely with the co-ordinators who provided us a list of 68 varieties. Upon which, Nikita and I engaged in researching upon the nutrient content and health benefits of the locally grown plants. This information was approved by Krishi Vigyan Kendra (Government Agricultural Department). This was followed by identifying 25 children aged between 10 and 17 from each village – participants of this project. Based on climatic conditions, availability of water and space, harvesting period, we have shortlisted 14 varieties that would be distributed to 75 children from Bong, Chibbo and Pudung. A local horticulturalist has been contacted who would be supplying the necessary seeds/saplings by the first week of September.
‘‘I am very excited about the vegetable garden project as this is the first time
something like this is happening in our village. I am looking forward to it.’’
– Abin Rai 12 years old from Bong Village
The Vegetable Garden Project, which is one of the many components of Immunity Project (webinars and booklet) is in its initial stage. The main aim of the project is to encourage children and help them know better health benefits of vegetables and fruits that are locally produced. We hope to carry out this project in an engaging yet practical manner. Although the target group is exposed to agrarian lifestyle, we hope
the children along with their family and relatives become conscious of a healthy diet, while understanding how these will boost immunity and thus help in fighting foreign microbes like coronavirus.
by Melissa Namchu, India Local Representative