Odisha has a rich heritage of indigenous fruits and vegetables. They are rich in minerals and vitamins. Cultivation of these crops by gardening in a systematic manner in small pieces of land available in households is known as “Nutrition Garden”.  The nutrition garden ensures access to safe, diverse and nutritious diets.

Short production cycle of seasonal vegetables allow multiple cropping and an adequate volume of vegetables for household consumption can be grown in small plots.

Vegetables are important sources of protective nutrients like vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, folic acid and dietary fibres. Vegetables are quite low in protein content when compared to dry pulses. Protein rich vegetables are peas, drumstick leaves, and French bean. Okra, cowpea, spinach (palak), fenugreek (methi) leaves and onion are also sources of protein. The diversified and highly nutritive vegetables are locally appropriate solutions to improve dietary diversity.

Seed sowing for nutrition garden
Picture of women harvesting green leafy vegetables from their Nutrition garden

Salient features of Nutrition Gardens

A 1200 sq-ft garden can provide a family with five adult members 1500g–1800g vegetables every day.

Area: 3 cents (1306.8 Sq. ft.)

Name of component /element No. of components Unit size (Sq. ft.) Total area (Sq. ft.) Percentage of area utilization (%)
Circle bed  (0.5 m radius) 7 10 70 3.83
Raised bed (20 ft. x 3.5 ft.) 12 70 910 69.63
Liquid manure (20 litres) 3 5 15 1.15
Bag compost 2 10 20 1.53
Space for botanical pesticides preparation

(4ft. x 5 ft.)

1 20 20 0.92
Water Channels/ walking path 311.8 22.94
                                              Total 1306.8 100
Area for vegetable production= 73% of 1306.8 Sq. ft = 954 Sq. ft.
Vegetable production per day = 1500 ~1800 grams 

Nutrition Gardens are crucial for improving the dietary diversity of the communities. They help growing diverse vegetables with minimum labour, no chemicals, negligible out of pocket expenditure and at a household level (for individual households of group of households) that are appropriate for rural communities.

There have been many cases where adolescent girls have been mobilized and have taken up the initiative to grow community nutrition gardens for a group of households and distribute the vegetables grown in their village. We have been covering these cases in our Blog Section-check out this link- Taking the lead!

However, there are different challenges in preparing nutrition beds/nutrition circle gardens/bag nutrition gardens depending on the terrain in which the communities live in, availability of water for basic needs in that terrain and season and the influence of commercial mono-cropping and plantations. We will elaborate on all these factors in our blog posts- stay tuned! 🙂