In its endeavour to improve nutrition security, Reliance Foundation has supplemented the nutritional intake of rural households through promotion of small kitchen or backyard gardens, known as Reliance Nutrition Gardens (RNGs). These RNGs help improve the nutrition status of small and marginal farmers and their families, providing them with a diverse mix of vegetables, fruits and medicinal plants throughout the year.
The RNG model is a cost-effective, scientific, holistic and practicable kitchen garden model that easily meets the balanced dietary requirements of marginal rural households. Crops are selected in keeping with prevailing food habits, the micro-climate of the region of implementation, and with a view towards ensuring year-round availability of wholesome and nutritious food. Till date, more than 29,000 RNGs have been established.
The RNG model has witnessed remarkable success in all its areas of implementation. For instance, the RNGs have actively helped reverse malnutrition trends in 26 programme operational clusters, improving the health of women. While boosting health and immunity, these gardens also save families the expense of buying vegetables.
The Foundation’s nutrition garden model has been appreciated by various government and non-government organisations on different platforms. In fact, the Government of Maharashtra has picked up the model, aiming to scale it up in several districts of the state.
The RF BIJ team has been sharing its expertise with the Department of Women and Child Development (DWCD) and the Rajmata Jijau Mother-Child Health and Nutrition Mission (RJMCHNM) for the promotion of kitchen gardens across rural Maharashtra. With technical support from the Foundation, kitchen gardens have been set up in anganwadi premises in the districts of Pune, Thane, Palghar, Jalgaon, Yavatmal, Parbhani, Osmanabad and Wardha. The RF BIJ team is also training government officials who will replicate the model in other districts.