A small organic vegetable and fruit garden has been raised at the Tamil Nadu Urban Habitat Development Board (TNUHDB) resettlement site in Perumbakkam by a group of women there.
The garden has been set up on a 1,020 square feet area allocated by TNUHDB as a pilot project with the objective of growing vegetables and fruits for local consumption and as a possible source of additional income.
Vanessa Peter, founder, Information and Resource Centre for the Deprived Urban Communities (IRCDUC), an organisation supporting the initiative, said although concepts like urban farming and terrace gardens were becoming popular, these had become the preserve of the middle and higher income groups. “Consumption of organic vegetables and fruits is not generally within the reach of poor because of their premium pricing,” she said.
Apart from the potential to generate a sustainable income in the long run, she said the project promoted optimum use of space and improving the green cover in resettlement sites such as Perumbakkam.
M. Sathya, who is involved in the project, said she had worked in a nursery. “All of us involved in the project have such experience. The idea of producing our own vegetables is exciting,” she said.
Krishna Mohan, chief resilience officer of Chennai Resilience Centre, which is supporting the project along with Sempulam Sustainable Solutions, said the project was in line with the centre’s objective of encouraging community gardens in un-utilised or underutilised government land. He said Perumbakkam was the first site where such a project was being tried.
M. Govinda Rao, Managing Director, TNUHDB, said the project was a novel idea that was environmentally sound and had a lot of potential for providing a sustainable source of income for the people residing in different sites of the board.