Nutrition Homestead Garden - Virmati Yadav's Story

Virmati Devi, a 35 year old woman was the first in her Self Help Group in Alwar, to sow a homestead garden in her backyard.

Typically poor households spend from 60 to 80 percent of their income on food. That makes them highly vulnerable when food prices rise or their incomes fall and like most families living in rural India, Virmati Devi was heavily dependent on market bought vegetables to feed her family of 5 living in a Nagar, Block Alwar, Rajasthan.  

Virmati Devi Nutrition Homestead garden

Understanding that access to nutritious food is a key dimension of food security, HPPI arranged training and awareness sessions for women farmers. Community involvement is crucial for sustainability of home gardening activities, and the project developed a two-way information flow to disseminate knowledge among group leaders, women gardeners and their families. They are trained in the cultivation of primarily indigenous vitamin-rich vegetables using low-cost, low-risk methods. They also learned processing and growing methods that optimize the nutritional value of foods. Apart from training, projects also provide them seeds, seedlings and organic manure at subsidised educate them about ill effects of chemical fertilizers on their food, soil and health and also train them on how to organically grow a wide variety of vegetables, herbs, medicinal plants and fruits in small spaces in and around their homes.  .

Realising the advantage of growing fresh vegetables in my own backyard, I sowed aubergine, tomato, spinach and coriander using the saplings provided at a workshop organised by HPPI. After being educated about the adverse effects of chemical fertilisers like urea and DAP, I have stopped their use in my farm and encouraged other members of the community to do the same. I am elated to see my family consume fresh and healthy vegetables. With this change, my savings have increased to 4000-5000 INR (60-75 USD) per month, says Virmani Devi.  

By October 2015, HPPI in cooperation with people have established more than 5000 nutrition homestead gardens in several blocks of Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan. Homestead gardens have also proven to achieve significant, cost-effective, and sustained positive changes in the health of children and families.  

The combined value of garden production, including sale of surplus vegetables combined with savings in food and medical expenses, varies seasonally but constitutes a significant proportion of total income (upwards of Rs 9,600 per annum) for most households.

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About HPPI

Humana People to People India is a development organization registered as a not-for-profit company under section 25 of the Companies Act, 1956 as of 21st May 1998. It is a non-political, non-religious organization. Its mission is to unite with people in India in order to create development in the broadest sense through the implementation of the projects that aim at transferring knowledge, skills and capacity to individuals and communities who need assistance to come out of poverty and other dehumanizing conditions.

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