Indian schools to set-up vegetable gardens and turn mid-day meals nutritious


  • The Indian government has asked schools — both in rural and urban areas — to set up nutrition gardens to address undernourishment.
  • The initiative is aimed at promoting experiential learning at schools which instills the habit of growing vegetables and fruits.
  • Recently, the government added staple grains and vegetables to the mid day meal menu as the preferred food choice.
  • In India, over one third of the children below the age of five are stunted while over 40% are anaemic, Comprehensive National Nutrition Survey (CNNS).
While India’s economic slowdown is hurting the children the most with starvation, the government has asked schools — both in rural and urban areas — to set up nutrition gardens to address undernourishment.

The initiative is aimed at promoting experiential learning at schools and instill the habit of growing vegetables and fruits in students.

According to the Ministry of Human Resource and Development (MHRD), eating a good diet is relative to the learning abilities of children. “They can provide fruit and vegetables rich in vitamins and minerals, add nutritional value to Mid-Day meals and increase the variety,” the guidelines said.

In 1925, the Indian government introduced the Mid-day meal programme for underprivileged children to improve nutrition levels.

The country has over 1.1 million government schools. And the move will especially benefit children from rural schools. Most of the meals of children is rich in grains which is subsidized, but they lack the key source of vitamins-vegetables.

Now, the government too made a few amendments to its mid day meal menu, adding staple grains and vegetables among the preferred choices for meals. The mid day meal programme covers 94.6 million children across schools in India, and employs 2.5 million cooks and helpers, says BusinessLine.

Malnutrition in India

According to the government’s Comprehensive National Nutrition Survey (CNNS), malnutrition among children caused several diseases including diabetes, hypertension and chronic kidney disease. In India, over a third of the children below the age of five are stunted while over 40% are anaemic, the report highlighted.

In 2018, India recorded the highest number of stunted children at 48.2 million — all due to malnutrition.

See also:
Indian economic slowdown is leaving its infants hungry as only 10% are given acceptable diet

A third of Indian children will be stunted by 2022, thanks to malnutrition

Climate change, obesity, and malnutrition are strongly linked: Lancet report
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