Flowering plants and vegetables
For any idea to get implemented in our mind, we need to start young. I have observed many of my friends who are extremely concerned about environmental degradation, but they do nothing about it. They claim to be helpless individuals who can’t set the entire system right. However, have they at least educated their children about environment?
Children do not have any patience to listen to our bhashan (preaching) on environmental problems. They would rather watch TV, play games or do some activity. Talking about activity, there is one activity that children will be interested – kitchen garden!
Why kitchen garden for kids?
Tweego and Fangchu plant a sapling
Kids have a natural affinity to flowers and butterflies. Having a tiny kitchen garden can ensure that they get to see flowers and butterflies occasionally. Another fun element for children is playing with water and mud. However, parents have to be careful otherwise things can get really messy! The biggest advantage of growing vegetables in your kitchen garden is that you get organic food free of any pesticides and rich in nutrients. How exciting would it be if you ask your daughter to go pluck some fresh tomatoes from your own garden!
Organic farming can greatly reduce the harm caused by large-scale agriculture to insects and birds. Although organic farming at home does not help alter the equation in a big way, we can at least get clean chemical-free homegrown vegetables at home. With the prices of vegetables skyrocketing, we could save a few rupees spent on curry leaves, chillies, tomatoes, mint, etc.
Ek Titli, a Pune-based environmental awareness organisation has created a cute cartoon character named ‘Tweego’. Vaibhav Dugar, co-founder of Ek Titli says “it is our earnest effort to create awareness amongst children of today to care for the environment by providing information through entertainment.
Space and time constraint?
Not having enough space in your apartment can be a constraining factor, but you can somehow squeeze in a few pots on window ledges and balconies. Urban Leaves, a group of concerned individuals in Mumbai came together in 2009 to create a community-based farming group to grow vegetables on terraces. If a bunch of Mumbaikars can become best practitioners in kitchen gardening, people in rest of India can’t have a reason to complain about space, right?
Are you too busy with work and struggling to maintain a work-life balance? Don’t worry, all you need is a day’s work during a weekend and just a few minutes of watering and weeding every alternate day. Did you know, the White House has a kitchen garden of its own? The First Lady Michelle Obama herself tends the plants!
Meanwhile, Kitchen Gardeners International, a global voluntary organization coordinates with other NGOs to celebrate the World Kitchen Garden Day. Celebrated every year on the 4th Sunday of August, this is an opportunity for people around the world to gather in their gardens with friends, family, and members of their local community to enjoy the benefits of home-grown organic food. So, let’s go outside in the sun today and play with soil, water, and plants!