Home gardens for nutritional and primary health security of rural poor of South Kerala

The present study comprises of field trips in different rural localities of Kollam and Thiruvananthapuram districts of Kerala. Information regarding the occurrence of plant species, their local names, parts ued, formulations and vegetable preparations through interviews and discussions held with elderly persons of rural communities were recorded. The plant specimens were identified and herbarium sheets prepared for all the species. From the information documented and also from literature data, 9 vegetable plants having high nutrient value were selected. 16 medicinal plants which are used to prepare primary health care remedies, suitable for cultivation and raising in home gardens were also selected. Quality seeds/planting materials were collected from Kerala Agricultural University (KAU) and supplied to selected rural families of each Gramapanchayat for raising home gardens. Awareness programmes on healthy living, balanced diet, hygiene, maintaining clean environment, rain water harvesting and conservation of biodiversity in association with Grama panchayat officials and selected Self Help Groups were conducted in these districts.