Chennai Urban Horticulture Vegetable Gardening

This policy initiative will support Chennai’s Corporation schools to set up vegetable gardens for mid-day meal schemes. This is achieved by involving children in maintaining gardens under supervision to learn about better waste management and nutrition.



To encourage students to take up vegetable gardening and rooftop farming in order to promote a values-based education. The ambition is to scale-up this program to over 200 Corporation schools.

To supplement the Nutritious (Mid-day) Meal Programme by growing nutritious produce such as curry leaves, spinach, and mint that are easy to grow and require low maintenance.

To improve environmental awareness and attitudes of children, for example, learn about proper solid waste management and littering. There is a proven linkage between students engaged in gardening, with higher interest in learning, greater interest in science, and improved environmental awareness and attitudes.


Funds will be used to setup vegetable gardens in 15 schools. Cost breakdown for a 1000 sq. ft. garden is as follows – Rs. 1.50 lakhs for a one time set-up cost + Rs. 50,000 for a chain link fence + Rs. 30,000 as monthly costs for one year. The total funding requested for 15 schools is Rs. 84 lakhs.

In addition, Resilient Chennai seeks Rs. 15 lakhs in to create awareness by developing a logo, website, social media profile, e-brochure and print collateral for Rs. 3 lakhs. Rs. 1 lakh per month will be incurred as an organization to create targeted awareness for owners of houses and apartments in Chennai.

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Resilient Chennai would appreciate any guidance on how to make the program cost-neutral to the city / state.

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A few government schools have been growing vegetables for their mid-day meal scheme, and many others have shown interest in a recent survey that we conducted. Tamil Nadu proudly pioneered the mid-day meal scheme, which has been scaled up to a national level. Chennai could potentially be the first city in the country to involve children and help nearly 100 schools setup vegetable gardens for their mid-day meal scheme. It is also the right time to promote rooftop-vegetable gardening since Greater Chennai Corporation’s proposed by-laws on solid waste management (SWM) strongly encourage composting.

Urban horticulture has many proven linkages to food security and nutrition, livelihood generation, SWM, and water conservation, and contributes to building civic and social resilience. By bringing the vegetable gardening program to schools, we hope children will connect with nature and understand how food is grown.


Greater Chennai Corporation: The Corporation’s schools are managed by Greater Chennai Corporation

Agriculture (Horticulture) Department, Government of Tamil Nadu: Provide technical expertise and input

TN Corporation for Development of Women: Provide baskets for vegetable gardening and to train caretakers to manage vegetable gardens in the school

Corporate Partners: Provide financial support


1 January 2019
  • Identify 15 schools
1 March 2019
  • Find caretaker and begin process of setting up vegetable gardens
1 May 2019
  • Conduct first round of monitoring

Initiative Lead
Krishna Mohan Ramachandran Chief Resilience Officer, Chennai City Resilient Chennai

Greater Chennai Corporation signed a Memorandum of Understanding with 100 Resilient Cities (100RC – an initiative pioneered by the Rockefeller Foundation) in 2017 and appointed a Chief Resilience Officer to lead the development of the city’s resilience strategy. Resilient Chennai, led by the Chief Resilience Officer, is hosted by the…

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