NUTRITION-BASED BENEFITS OF KITCHEN GARDENS: AN INVESTIGATION OF GENDER DIFFERENCESAranya Jha, Sangeeta Jha, Shenga Sherap, Rajlakshmi Mallik3 and Ajeya Jha
Food remains the primary concern of human society. Kitchen gardens have been an important vehicle of food availability and food-security across time and geography. Sikkim, a small Himalayan State in India also has a rich tradition of kitchen gardens. How do rural people of Sikkim view their kitchen gardens in this respect? Are there any gender differences in rating various nutrition based benefits of kitchen gardens? This research work has been undertaken to understand the views of rural people of Sikkim with respect to the significance they attach to their kitchen gardens as a medium for providing food, food security, reliable food source, and food-diversity and as a bulwark against famine. It is concluded that kitchen gardens are held high in the context of food-security and food availability. It is also seen that there are gender differences in this respect with women displaying a greater importance for kitchen gardens. The paper infers that women are more concerned with food crisis and hence kitchen gardens may be promoted as women-centric and women-driven initiatives.