Resettlement site in Perumbakkam sprouts first garden of hope
CHENNAI: The Tamil Nadu Urban Habitat Development Board (TNUHDB) along with the Information and Resource Centre for the Deprived Urban Communities (IRCDUC) inaugurated the first community garden at a resettlement site in Perumbakkam on Thursday.
Set up on 1,200 sqft, the garden will have 100 plants apart from the fruit trees. “While we have been distributing mobile vegetable garden kits which contain five grow bags, vermicompost, soil, organic fertilisers and good quality seeds to people from poor backgrounds to promote kitchen gardens, this is the first time a community garden has been established. Types of spinach and vegetables like tomatoes, flat beans, brinjal and ladies finger will be grown. Apart from that, banana, gooseberry, lemon, sapota and mangoes are also grown. We choose vegetables that can be harvested quickly,” said Krishna Mohan of Chennai Resilience Centre. The project is funded by The Adrienne Arsht Rockefeller Foundation Resilience Centre (AARFRC).
To maintain the garden, 15 women have been trained by Sempulam Sustainable Solutions. They were provided training on how to water the plants, usage of vermicompost and fertilisers, identifying the time of harvest and other related things. Maintenance kits will also be provided after every harvest. Based on success of the projects, a decision on expanding it to other places will be taken. Such community gardens will ensure food security, livelihood and nutrition of the urban poor, said the organisers.
IRCDUC also inaugurated 10 learning hubs in various resettlement sites across the city including Perumbakkam, Chemmancherry, KP Park and Ayyapakkam where the children will be involved in activity and skill-based learning. “Due to resettling families in areas which are far from the city, the livelihood of women is severely affected. As travel time to their work increased drastically, they are forced to stay at home as the children can’t be left unattended for long periods. Following a request from them, we decided to start the learning hubs,” said Vanessa Peter, founder of IRCDUC. The children will also be given nutritious snacks while visiting the centres and workshops will be conducted on weekends. Each centre will take up to 35 children.