R Neelamma and her family of 4, reside in Dasappapalem Village of Ananthapur District in Andhra Pradesh. She owns 2 acres of land, in which she cultivates Groundnut. During the off-season she and her husband earn a livelihood from MGNREGA activities in their village, instead of migrating to neighboring areas for work. Because of erratic and insufficient household income, their nutritional requirements were barely met prior to 2008. But now having been trained in homestead cultivation, soil bed preparation, fence raising, sowing and spacing of seeds, and methods of watering, she was able to start a homestead garden in a 20ft x 10ft plot in her own backyard.
As a result, R Neelamma now has access to a variety of vegetables to meet her family’s nutritional needs, such as amaranthus, chillies, lady finger, tomato, cluster beans, bottle gourd and bitter gourd. She also sells the surplus vegetables in the local market, thereby augmenting the family income by Rs.525 a quarter, a part of which she spends on buying 50 eggs and meat on a monthly basis. R Neelamma was also able to use her training to cultivate 150 kgs of Red Gram in her agricultural land.
She is an example of how kitchen gardens can be used to meet family level nutrition and earn extra income.