Jeevani to assimilate expertise of nutritionists for cultivating safe-to-eat veggies

Varappetty, on the eastern fringes of Ernakulam, is a village known for its thriving tribe of vegetable farmers.

During the last days of 2019 it was witness to a novel initiative to bring together the expertise of nutritionists and farmers on a scale that will help substantially spread the cultivation of safe-to-eat vegetables. At the same time, the drive will send home the message that eating the best vegetables must also involve knowing their food value.

Named Jeevani, the pan-Kerala mission mode vegetable cultivation drive will be a 470-day programme, which saw its soft launch on New Year Day and will culminate on Vishu in 2021, said an official of the Department of Agriculture.

He said the programme involved the entire spectrum of society. Students, teachers, Kudumbashree members, people’s representatives in different local bodies and the government, religious institutions and their land.

Model gardens that would tell people about what to cultivate would come up in all villages within 15 days. These gardens would be developed with the help of nutritionists so that people got a basic idea about the need to cater to health requirements.

“Besides, the 470-day drive will also focus on traditional varieties of both tuber and leafy vegetables that are not usually cultivated on a commercial scale in the State. Involving school students in the programme will help spread the message as well as carry the tradition to the next generation,” he said.

Around a hundred schools had identified land extending between 10 and 25 cents for vegetable cultivation. These schools would set the tone of the programme, said the official, who also pointed out that more schools would come under the programme.

“Any piece of land that is lying fallow and can be brought under cultivation will be part of the programme.” He said land belonging to schools, colleges, religious institutions, libraries, public enterprises, etc., would be identified and brought under cultivation under the programme.

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