At least 60 percent of government schools in Mysore district are making efforts towards becoming self sufficient in terms of their vegetables requirement. Thanks to the government's 'Shala Kaitota programme' which seeks to make use of the backyard in government schools to grow chemical free greens.
Based on the availability of space in school backyard, water, school teachers have begun teaching farming activity to students, under the programme 'Shala Kaithota' sponsored by the Government, familiarising them on how to grow vegetables and greens which are chemical-free and also nutritious. Through this children are gaining knowledge about organic cultivation of crops which is also the need of the hour.
Vegetables like brinjal, beans, Bottle Guard (sorekayi), Pumpkin, drumstick, and varieties of green leaves like menthe, pudina, sapsige, dantu, chakotha, coriander leaves and others have grown by the students. Interestingly in some schools, for about 20-25 days the greens grown in the backyard are used for the mid-day meals served in their schools.
The excess grown vegetables, greens are sold by children after their school hours. The obtained money is used to purchase seeds. Moreover, children are made aware of market strategy by this.
Student Kavya of Government Higher Primary School, Chikkegowdana Kopalu, Ilwala, says: “We are very happy that vegetables and greens grown by us are used for preparing food. Moreover, we are harvesting organic plants, with the help of teachers and have learnt how to grow crops in the little space available in our backyards.”
Head Master MN Rangaswamy said that “after removing the ornamental plants we began growing greens and vegetables in the schools, without disturbing the children's play ground.”
Mysore Taluk BEO R Ramaradhya said that the students are responding positively for the programme as it is providing a good exercise for the children both physically and mentally. “As some schools have no compound walls stray animals enter and destroy the crops some time.”
DDPI BK Basavaraju said that about 60-70 per cent schools in district have began growing veggies and greens, and very good response is evoked from students and parents.
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The programme 'Shala Kaithota' (School Hand Garden) was implemented by the State Government under Sarva Sikshan Abhiyan a decade ago. Rs 3000 has been released by government for schools, which have adequate space and water facility to develop the garden. The programme was not implemented effectively all these years, due to lack several problems. But, now the programme is evoking good response.