Chennai gets its first nutrition garden in city limit
Chennai, 8 January 2022: In collaboration with Rotary Club of Madras East, M S Swaminathan Research Foundation established nutrition garden behind Thiruvanmiyur railway station in Chennai city to demonstrate and improve nutrition literacy among urban people. J. Radhakrishnan, Principal Secretary, Department of Health and Family Welfare, Tamil Nadu, inaugurated ‘Nutri-rich Plants/Awareness Garden.’
Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, Chief Scientist, World Health Organization, Mr. Gagandeep Singh Bedi, Principal Secretary/ Commissioner Greater Chennai Corporation, and Rtn. M Nachiappan, Director–Environment Rotary Club of Madras East, was present on this occasion. In his inaugural address, J. Radhakrishnan urged people to help us maintain the garden and get benefits from it.
“We should upkeep such gardens as it is quite an innovative idea. It will help us achieve sustainable development goals, especially addressing hidden hunger,” he said. The nutrition garden is a scientifically established intervention to categorize plants based on the nutritive properties, provide planting material to the community and build awareness on cultivation and consumption to address nutrition requirements. MSSRF has been promoting this idea in different parts of the country to counter hidden hunger and malnutrition.
Gagandeep Singh Bedi, Commissioner, Greater Chennai Corporation, also urged people to help the government maintain so that more such gardens would be opened in the city. “I found the creation of a nutrition garden in the middle of the city area is innovative, so I gave immediate permission and allocated a piece of land for it,” he said.
“If we get cooperation from people, we will create few more such spaces in other areas too,” he adds.Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, Chief Scientist, World Health Organisation of United Nations, termed it an excellent initiative.
“Excellent initiative to spread nutrition awareness among general public along with physical activity space for children and adults,” said Dr. Soumya Swaminathan in her address. She further said that non-communicable diseases need to be prevented with increased nutrition intake.
“It is clear that while we have progressed in many spheres, we are still backward when it comes to nutrition. If India is to be a superpower, we need good nutrition and development. We also need lifestyle changes to address hypertension and diabetes, which are very high in Tamil Nadu. Dietary diversity must be taught from childhood, and diets at home and school have to be nutritional and balanced,” She adds.
M S Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF) established in 1988 is a not-for-profit trust. MSSRF was envisioned and founded by Professor M S Swaminathan, agriculture scientist with proceeds from the First World Food Prize that he received in 1987.