Your support trains students to make organic home gardens in a drought-prone region of India.
Anisha is an organic farming project based in the Martalli region of India. It works with 21 villages in this impoverished, drought-prone area of Karnataka State.
Anisha currently needs your help for their most recent initiative, the Kitchen Garden Project (KGP), designed to train 1,400 middle school students at 23 different school sites to grow their own organic kitchen gardens at home. A demonstration garden is also established at each school that serves to train students, as well as provide vegetables for the daily school lunch.
The students are generally from landless, often single-parent families trapped in poverty. These gardens help provide nutritious organic vegetables for their families while easing the financial burden of having to buy them at often distant markets. Organic native seeds from Anisha’s seed bank are given to these students, who in turn learn to develop their own seed bank at home from their annual plantings.
Since the introduction of expensive chemical fertilizers and pesticides into India through the green revolution of the early 1960s, its soils have become increasingly unproductive and devoid of the organic material that was used for centuries by India’s farmers to produce inexpensive and nutritious produce for their families.
The Martalli region, located in a degraded forest area of India’s Eastern Gat, struggles with lack of rain as a daily fact of life. The diet of many local people lacks any significant vegetable consumption on a regular basis.
Life is very hard in Martalli – 70% or more of the area’s population belong to India’s lowest economic class and struggle to survive. Children often leave school very young and go to work alongside adults in local quarries, or stay home and marry early. Many families are forced to abandon their homes and migrate into the dumping grounds of the big city slums.
Anisha is working hard every day to promote the benefits of organic farming to help these people improve their standard of living.
Anisha is dedicated to its goal of educating an entire generation of students in the Martalli area on the importance and potential of growing organic kitchen gardens at their homes. This is one of the most significant ways to help students and their families remain on the land.
Anisha’s Kitchen Garden Project is currently in the second year of its planned four-year programme. Principal funding for the Project comes from a private foundation called the Guru Krupa Foundation which provides a grant of $10,000 per year based on successful completion of the previous year. Several other organisations and individual donors also contributed in previous years and their donations have helped the project develop.
However, for the Project’s upcoming third year, a significant portion of the budget is still missing.
Long Term Impact
Over the four years of its implementation, Anisha’s Kitchen Garden Project will educate at least 1,400 students to grow their own gardens at home. Data collection after the first year showed that 743 gardens were planted, maintained, and monitored during the year, producing over 13,000 lbs (5,900kg) of organic vegetables – despite the almost complete lack of rainfall in 2016, the project’s first year.
The programme is designed to have a multiplier effect as more students are brought on board. The systematic education on organic farming theory and practice can potentially help move agricultural practices in this area in the direction of organic farming, with all of its resulting benefits.
Anisha page on SDIA Website.
Project leader: Valli Krishnaswamy
Location: Martalli, Karnataka, South India
Honors and Recognition for Valli and Anisha
- In December 2016, the university for agricultural sciences in Bangalore, awarded Valli the prize for ‘best young agriculturalist’ in Kollegal Taluk, the region where Anisha works.
- December 2015: Anisha was chosen as one of the best 20 projects in the ‘agriculture’ segment in a yearly competition seeking to promote innovative and exemplary environmental projects. The competition is a joint project of the German Federal Environmental Foundation (DBU) and the Council for Sustainable Development of the Federal German Government,
- In 2015, Valli was awarded the Women’s World Summit Foundation Prize for Women’s Creativity in Rural Life.
- In 2013, the Indian Government’s Taluk Revenue Administration and Education Department recognised Anisha’s work and honoured it for the excellent work on organic agriculture and conservation of native seed.