How CCFC is bringing vegetables to the table in India
Family, school and community gardens are creating sustainable resources in India
By Lipi Jobson, communications manager, India
KOTTAM, India — Athilakshmi used to walk three kilometres and then take a bus from Kottam to Tiruchuli in India for vegetables such as cabbage, beets and squash — and it wasn’t enough. But, the mother-of-two couldn’t afford to adequately nourish her two children (son, pictured) with fresh, healthy food. She’s not alone.
Christian Children’s Fund of Canada (CCFC) understood this challenge and stepped in to help. Working with SPEECH, a local partner, a bio-intensive gardening (BIG) initiative was launched. “It employs techniques, such as the use of manure fertilizers, soils that absorb water and nutrients more effectively as well as vermiculture (the process of using worms to decompose organic waste),” explains Arunothayam Erskine, project director, SPEECH.
He adds: “Today, 338 homes in 24 villages have ‘BIG’ gardens, which grow vegetables for families and help them make money to support their children.”
Beneficiaries of these gardens are selected through a village-run committee, which often helps widows, families with disabled children as well as families experiencing malnutrition. Those selected, must buy black soil, red soil and organic waste to begin their garden; the fencing, seeds and education about how to maintain the garden is provided.
Now Athilakshmi can grow kidney beans, greens and more, and she only needs to travel to the market once per month. What amounted to a $20 investment in soil has led to the cultivation of crops, which are regularly feeding her family.
This could just be the beginning. Suresh Kumar, CCFC partner’s field officer hopes to connect the kitchen gardeners to a SPEECH program, which supports converting small-scale monocrop or wasteland into multi-crop vegetable farmland. This will mean produce can be sold locally, generating income and a source of nutrition for villagers.
About Christian Children's Fund of Canada:
Christian Children's Fund of Canada (CCFC) is a child-focused international development organization and a member of ChildFund Alliance. For more than 50 years, CCFC has been helping children and families of all faiths move from poverty to self-reliance. CCFC supports children and communities in Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Nicaragua and Paraguay. Currently, CCFC has almost 50,000 children sponsored, benefiting nearly 400,000 people around the world.