35 million people in Tamil Nadu live on around £1 a day

Lila Prema shows us white Guava that she is growing in her kitchen garden with seeds that were given to her by Social Change and Development Charity Lila Prema’s story

Lila Prema lives in the village Tuckerammalpuram close to Tirunelveli, Tamil Nadu. She is a housewife and has three children. Lila began to grow her own kitchen garden five years ago.

Kitchen gardens give a family food security

We encourage people to grow kitchen gardens to help reduce their expenditure on costly food bills. Surplus crops can be sold off to generate additional income for the household. Some of the plants have medicinal benefits and can be used to treat minor ailments rather than relying on costly medicines.

Lila grows tomatoes, snake gourd, papaya, drumstick tree, guava, orange, pomegranate, mango, curry leaf, spinach, saporta and teek for timber. She spends between one and two hours a day in her kitchen garden.

Food to share and sell

We gave Lila all the seeds to start her off. The drumstick tree and teek fetch Lila a profit and everything else she prepares for her family or gives away to neighbours. She saves on average about RS600 a month and the whole family benefit from a more nutritious diet.

We have also provided Lila with manure and biochar, which is a natural soil fertiliser. She is very happy with the results of the biochar and can see the difference in the growth of her plants.

Lila said: “SCAD has made me be able to provide for my family in my own home and now we can eat better. All the women in this village should start their own gardens.”

Kitchen gardens are just one example of the ways in which we help communities empower themselves

Read more about our work with communities and how we promote kitchen gardens or watch a film. If you would like to support our kitchen garden promotion you can donate below.