In the remote village of Viswema in Nagaland's capital Kohima, K Khel Government Middle School is trying to provide nutritious food to its students through mid-day meals which are cooked using the organic vegetables grown by the students themselves in the school campus. The 60 plus students of the school are also learning the nitty-grities of farming which in turn can help them grow their own food and become self-sufficient.
K Khel Government Middle School in Viswema village of Kohima, Nagaland started a small kitchen garden in its backyard in 2011. At first the aim of the kitchen garden was to increase the interest of the students towards gardening as a hobby/ extra-curricular activity. Later on the school decided to use the empty land in and around the school for growing vegetables and use the produce in cooking mid-day meals for students.
There are currently 63 students enrolled in the school and each one of them is involved in the cultivation of vegetables. According to the headmistress Keneisenu Vitsu, farming and gardening is an integral part of the curriculum for which the school dedicates one day in the month to teach about agriculture related activities.
Vegetables grown by students include cabbage, potato, onion, garlic, pumpkin, squash, pomegranate and lemon. The school is also growing beans, Naga Dal (a staple of Nagaland), maize and mustard in small patches. And the school claims that the average annual production of vegetables, pulses and grains amounts to more than 300 kilograms.
The vegetables and grains produced by students are consumed by them in their mid-day meals prepared by the school cook. As part of their mid-day meal, the students get vegetables, lentils, fruits and rice.
The students of this school feel proud to be a part of this initiative. Nokerhenii Koso, a student of class 7 said, 'We plant the herbs and vegetable with our own hands. It's so nice and fun to cut the vegetables and clean it. We look forward to the farming class as it has helped me learn so much about farming. I also have a small kitchen garden in my home.'
Apart from organic farming, students of K Khel Government Middle School are engaged in other green activities like tree plantation and conducting awareness drives on waste management, plastic and air pollution.