Nutrition Garden: Objectives, Principles & Benefits

Lokesh Kumar
Lokesh Kumar
Nutrition Garden

One of the numerous issues faced by the socioeconomically disadvantaged portions of our society is ensuring year-round dietary diversity for the family, particularly women of reproductive age and children. The Ministry of Rural Development has issued a guideline for the MGNREGS – individual benefits plan to promote 'nutrition gardens,' with the purpose of increasing nutritional diversity at the household level while also supporting income and employment for the family.

When well-planned, nutrition gardens can produce enough to sell excess after there is a high demand for these veggies and fruits within the villages, as neighbours are aware that they are all organic. Welthungerhilfe has demonstrated nutrition gardens utilising the agroecological technique of Sustainable Integrated Farming Systems (SIFS) that can persist all year, are minimal in cost, and take up very little space. Because the nutrition garden's goal is to produce all of the dietary diversity from the garden, it's critical to incorporate poultry livestock, trees, a composting unit, and other related management measures. 

This paper compiles a list of tried-and-true models that can be recreated under this method with the help of the nutrition garden owner's labour. 

The objective of Nutrition Garden 

  • By recycling home trash, greywater, and other resources, the front yard, backyard, and space around the living space can be used to grow nutrient-dense vegetables and fruits.

  • The goal is for all family members, particularly women and children, to consume at least 150-200gm of green vegetables and fresh fruits per person per day throughout the year.

  • Integrate backyard poultry and goat farming for improved soil nutrient availability and increased income.

Principles of Nutrition Garden 

  • Fruit vegetables, leafy vegetables, legumes, tuber crops, spices and some medicinal herb along with trees like banana, lemon, moringa.

  • Own seed, own input can be used.

  • Integrate livestock and recycle waste through composting.

Benefits of Nutrition Garden 

  • Reduce the hunger periods 

  • Small farms focusing on cash crops can reduce market dependence by production for own consumption

  • Multiple and mixed cropping – increases dietary diversity and soil nutrition

  • Organic farming- safe food, low cost, less time involvement (more resilient crops) and improved organic waste management

  • Clean environment- Less disease- Better nutrition

  • Recycling of the waste water

  • More fodder

  • Use of degradable lands i.e. useful for the production of food, fodder and fuel

  • Preservation of natural resources like forests and water bodies

  • Increase the biodiversity i.e. improves sources of food for both animals and human

  • Reduced the cost of production - supports consumption of nutritious food on regular basis, more profits from sale, scope to buy food that is essential but cannot be grown on own farm

  • Good source of uncultivated foods- allows growth of wild foods – weeds, small insects, local fishes, wild fruits

The owner of a garden can choose any of the activities that are appropriate for her garden and submit plans accordingly. A journal for the plan based on the season and harvest can be kept. It is possible to keep track of the daily output. The notebook can assist in keeping track of consumption and surplus production money. This paperwork is intended primarily for demonstration villages and lead farmers, rather than for all homes. A village seed bank should be kept in order to preserve and share seeds. In arid climate zones, every family should have some arrangement for rainwater harvesting during monsoons to recharge ground water. 

The price of putting up any of the planned activities could be covered by Indian government initiatives (IBS- MGNREGS). Seeds and other agricultural supplies can be obtained through the local government's agriculture initiatives. A smart option is to use neighbourhood seed banks and nurseries. 


Lokesh Kumar

Department of Horticulture, College of Agriculture, Agriculture University, Jodhpur

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