Berhampur, July 23 (LocalWire): All schools in Ganjam district have been instructed to set up a ‘nutrition garden’ on their campuses and engage students to develop it.
The instruction from district collector Vijay Amruta Kulange came after his review of the activities of the school department in the district last Saturday.
Instructing the school authorities to take up the initiative Kulange said, “The students will not only grow fruits and vegetable plants in the proposed garden, but also savour them in their midday meal (MDM).”
“There must be a nutrition garden in every campus of the school in the district,” he said.
The district has over 3,500 different schools.
According to the district education officer (DEO) Sanatan Panda, some of the schools in the district have already developed such nutrition gardens with involvement of the students in different forms through Mo School Abhiyan.
“We had asked the students to bring plant saplings or seeds from the house and to plant it in the school campus,” he said, adding that besides providing nutritional value to the MDM, the initiative will help students get a first-hand experience of farming and gardening during their zero period.
“Other than vegetables, we also encouraged them to plant some fruit-bearing trees like mango, guava, and lime,” he stated.
The size of the proposed garden will depend on the availability of the space in the campus, the DEO said.
“If any investment is needed for the programme, it will be borne out of the school development funds,” he said.
After meeting the food supplement needs of the midday meal, the school authorities can sell the surplus vegetable and fruits, while the authorities of high schools can sell all their products as they do not run the MDM scheme, DEO Panda said.
Welcoming the move of the district administration a social activist Sanjeet Patnaik said: “It is a good initiative.
The participation of the students in the proposed garden is a welcome step and it will help them develop their agricultural skills and get first-hand experience of farming activities.”
He also suggested that the students should be given some incentive or additional marks during the annual examination to encourage them join the initiative.
The Union Ministry of Human Resources Development had proposed a plan for developing nutrition gardens in the school campuses across the country and had also issued a guideline to the states, with the central government keen to turn this into a mass movement, sources said.