Hosts activities to observe National Nutrition Week
Jamshedpur, Sep 8: Food and nutrition are of utmost significance for overall physical and mental health. Ever since the pandemic wreaked havoc, immunity boosting foods to fight the infectious disease has gained prominence. Healthy foods, balanced diet and nutrition are now recognised as an important prerequisite for an active, disease-free life, growth and development.
The National Nutrition Week that concluded recently also stressed on raising public awareness about nutrition and healthy eating habits. Tata Steel Foundation took up various initiatives to spread awareness about the right nutrition across its operational locations in Jharkhand and Odisha.
As a part of its initiatives to promote healthy living, Tata Steel Foundation (TSF) has been encouraging communities to adopt the practice of growing nutrition gardens in their homes.
Vegetable nutrition gardens can be established on a small piece of land including the backyards of houses. Growing vegetables in their backyards, utilizing household waste water and without the use of any chemical fertilizers/pesticides ensures that the communities have access to a healthy diet containing adequate amounts of essential nutrients. TSF also engages in regular interaction with the community via regular home visits to generate awareness on nutrition and providing training on crop cultivation its care and maintenance.
A total of 6,191 households were supported in promoting nutrition gardens last year touching 30,955 lives across nine locations in our operational areas.
It was observed that women in the communities took the lead through an active participation in the cultivation of nutrition gardens. 21-year-old Suman Marandi, residing in the Bhelatand area of Dhanbad, Jharkhand had been growing vegetables of a large variety in her nutrition garden in the last six months and it came as a boon for her family of five during the lockdown period. “I do not have to worry about going to the market to buy vegetables because the produce from my garden is enough to sustain my family,” says Suman.
During the pandemic and the ensuing nationwide lockdown, nutrition gardens played a vital role in ensuring the proper nutrition intake throughout the year for the communities where it was promoted. These nutrition gardens enhanced the household’s micronutrient intake through constant supply of vegetables that were sufficient to meet the family’s requirements thereby providing balanced nutrition to the households. It also solved the problem of accessibility of vegetables during the lockdown thus also reducing the family expenditure on food.
Rashmita Pradhan from Kakudia village in Sukinda, Odisha adds that the kitchen garden in her home has helped her save money. “We used to spend a lot of money in buying vegetables from the market but since I have started to grow them in my backyard, I have started saving money. I feel empowered and I save enough every month to provide tuition classes to my children,” she says.