On the principles of learning while earning, the Chennai, Tamil Nadu the Self Help Group shall train 40 students of the corporation schools and they shall be also provided with the seeds and the pots for 25 plants. The SHG shall also train the teachers and the students to learn agriculture, grow vegetables in their own school for the noon meal.
Each school will have a teacher coordinating the entire process. "The idea is to inculcate the importance of farming and responsibility among the children. In several schools, the students even sell their excess harvest. For now, we have only decided to use them in the school kitchens. If we start growing excess, we may even start a student bazaar to help them learn about the economics and business of farming," said a teacher.
A self-help group which acquired expertise in terrace gardening under the National Urban Livelihood Mission will train the corporation teachers and students.
Nearly 100 city corporation schools will soon be equipped with gardens that grow vegetables for their mid-day meal scheme.
"Members of the SHG will train nearly 40 students who are part of eco-clubs and the national green corps. These children will be provided with seeds and pots for 25 plants. They will grow the plants either in pots in terraces of the schools or in a small patch of land available inside the school premises," said Deputy Commissioner, Education, Mageswari Ravikumar.
Srirathi, a member of the self-help group, said they have created a terrace garden at Annai Teresa Magalir Vazhagam near Valluvar Kottam and will replicate the same model in these schools.
"We will train the teachers and students on how to maintain the plants," she said.
Officials said the compost that the civic body is generating from the garbage collected by it will be used in these gardens. "We will also try and generate our own compost at the schools once we start generating income from this. We will develop the gardens and make them scientifically equipped over the years," said Mageswari.
Schoolteachers, when contacted, said the project will mostly involve primary and middle schools. "A few higher secondary schools will also be selected. It all depends on the availability of space. We have started identifying the schools. The work on the gardens will start within a week," said a coordinator.
Officials said they wanted the students to learn about managing garbage and making compost at the young age so that they become responsible. Snehalatha, project officer of National Urban Livelihood Mission said that a lot of women were getting trained in various fields. "We wanted these women to use their training and help the government. When we informed about it to the corporation, they were willing to use their help," she said.
The corporation officials said as part of the eco clubs, the students were already involved in a lot of activities such as planting drives, treks, creating awareness, taking up cleaning drives.