Several schools grow vegetables for midday meal

The state government last year started its garden in school scheme to encourage students to know about farming as well as help schools grow their midday meal vegetables.
Schools from 10 districts were chosen for growing vegetables either in a rooftop garden or on a plot inside the campus.
Father Gaspar Wahlang, principal of Don Bosco School in Umdang, West Khasi Hills, said the saplings planted at the end of last year were destroyed in the rain and the school will plant vegetables once again.
Most of the schools grow fresh beans, carrots, cucumber, onions and other food items of daily use. “Students of classes VIII-X help in maintaining the garden,” said Wahlang.
Vidya Jyoti, an inclusive school in Mairang, is engaging its students in gardening. A small plot of land (in picture left) inside the school premises is used for growing vegetables. “We started the school garden this year and received Rs 5,000 from the government to buy seeds and other paraphernalia. Now, our students and teachers tend to the garden,” informs Markordor Nylla Wahlang, who teaches at Vidya Jyoti.
The garden has not only helped students learn the basics of farming but also run the school kitchen. “We have midday meal and most of the vegetables come from our garden. This is a great help as we don’t have to run to the market every time,” she said.
Another school in West Khasi Hills, Sib Sing Memorial Government Higher Secondary School, is also part of the initiative. The wall school garden has a variety of vegetables like beans, turnips, radish and onions. Principal in-charge Rimilbis Kongwang said the garden has been started recently and production is not in large amount.
“We have just started midday meal for the primary section. So I think this garden will be our constant source of vegetables,” she said.
Two teachers are helping students maintain the garden. To encourage students to take up gardening, the school has decided to involve every class in growing vegetables. Kongwang said it will be “a kind of competition” and the best performing class will be acknowledged.
Some schools in Thadlaskein block of West Jaintia Hills are also practising school gardening. Tylli Mukhim of Nonglatun Government LP School said the garden grows a variety of vegetables and students are quite enthusiastic about the upkeep of the plants.
For schools which run the midday meal scheme, school gardens are a great help. It also helps students learn about farming, various crops and efficient use of water resources.

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