Benefits of vegetable garden far more than just food

By Ilia L Likou ,

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IMPROVING HEALTH: Lefauaitu Aitogi of Samatau.

IMPROVING HEALTH: Lefauaitu Aitogi of Samatau.

Having a vegetable patch in your backyard has a lot of benefits. 

For 50-year-old mother and grandmother, Lefauaitu Aitogi of Samatau, Falelatai says that having a vegetable garden not only helps her financially but also keeps her fit and healthy.

The Village Voice team met her while on her way back to the inception workshop held at U.N. Conference room on Friday.

Their women’s committee is one of the recipients of the Global Environment Facility (G.E.F.) Small Grants Programme (S.G.P.) of the United Nations Development Programme (U.N.D.P.).

“Our women’s committee is working together in planting vegetables to help our families especially with financial income,” Lefauaitu said.

“That’s why we’ve asked this programme for us because we need money to extend this project to many families in our village.”

“We all know the struggles that our people are living nowadays, it’s easy to say plant crops on the land.”

“But that’s not how it is, we need money to buy fertilizers, green house, to breed small plants and other ways to get rid of diseases.”

“That’s the main purpose of why women of Samatau are working on this, so that we can be able to sell our own food for income, prepare healthy, nutritious meals to improve the well-being of our families and children.”

She said Samatau mothers had now learned basic ways to build home gardens filled with cabbages, tomatoes, spring onions and other crops.

“To us, this practice improves health and nutritional behavior to ensure our children and family will grow up healthy and strong,” she said.

She added before the project, mothers throughout the community had struggled to grow many crops and mainly spent their money on vegetables.

 “Since the project began, mothers have seen significant improvements in their home gardens, including increased access to nutritious foods.”

“With this grant from the U.N, I believe we can do much and earn more from our vegetable garden.”

She said in the beginning, they did not know much about growing vegetables and maintaining soil. 

“We didn’t know a lot of things before,” Lefauaitu said. 

“Now we have home gardens and almost all the families are having their own now.”

“We share proper agricultural techniques for our own home gardens.”

“I believe that we all have difficulty paying our children’s school fees, but we can now uses the money earned from selling vegetables to help our children in schools.”

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