Global Forum on Food Security and Nutrition (FSN Forum)

Member profile

Nyla Coelho

Organization: Taleemnet
Country: India
I am working on:

1.Taking forward a curriculum designed by me specifically for children and youth of rural farming communities in India. Title: Our Land Our Life,2012. 2.Have just published another educator handbook for integrating an edible food garden into the school curriculum - Tending a Schoolyard Garden, Aug 2014. Responses so far have been very encouraging - being translated into 5 Indian languages. 3.Have worked with the Organic Farming Association of India, Assisted in the writing of the Organic Farming Source Book, OIP, 2009, 2010. 4.Training and work interest are in conservation, sustainable and safe farming practices, rural communities, education.

This member contributed to:

    • About three years ago Dr. Priti Joshi went about in a part of the most agriculrally distressed area of India ( Wardha, Maharashtra) encouraing women to take up and set up kitchen gardening. Not only that, she then went around the villages teaching women how to prepare nurtitionally wholesome food items from the garden produce. The women who had all tested +ve for anemea had in one growing season  reveresed the condition not only among temselves but also in their neighbours, friends and relatives.  These were all rural women connected to agriculture either on their own farms or as farm labourers. So obviously, they had at some point come in contact with the agricultural deptartment staff and extension service centres; were familiar with farming and had access to farm produce; and yet, were all found to be anaemic. 

      The reason for this narration is to make a point for the need to offer an agriculture education programme that does not look at the science of growing crops in isloation but rather exposes the student to all the areas connected and concerned with the science of growing food and its consumption.  After all agricultural practices have now been proven without a doubt to have caused the highest environmental impact to the planet. 

      Although not directly relevant to higher education in agriculture the following link offers a glimse into curricular ideas that can be adopted to begin this practie from the very early years of education i.e. from the school level upwards.


    • Friends,

      Let us begin by admitting that we (world citizens) have collectively been extremely sluggish, casual, irresponsible in acknowledging the serious nature of the implications of climate change for us as well as for the planet. Doing too little too late; countries and their leaders still consider economic indicators as an universal remedy for wellbeing, progress, advancement, development.

      Currently India, in particular, is riding on a seemingly unstoppable juggernaut of economic gratification at the cost of everything else. Only time will tell how this will play out in short, medium and long term repercussions and damage; benefits and advantages.

      Global statistics in all key areas from energy to economics to ecology to human wellbeing don’t portray a pleasant picture from any angle such that one may at the end of the day rest well; look forward to a pleasant morrow.

      If at all, one may find a few answers to the woes of our times in:

      • Redefining the smallest social unit to be a community/ neighbourhood rather than a family by which definition we continue while dealing with matters of policy and practice.
      • Rebuilding community for self reliance, self sufficiency, self governance
      • Adopting an ecosystem approach in all spheres of human activity
      • Creating systems that ensure our primary source of energy is the Sun and the photosynthetic process; and renewables.
      • Abandon wasteful expenditure on territorial defense  
      • Work towards Global fellowship.
      • Rebuild the soil, recreate forests, revisit indigenous wisdom, restore biodiversity, rejuvenate water bodies, clean up the air.
      • Think and live human scale.
      • Adopt an integrated approach in dealing with all issues.

      If localized efforts  are initiated in one or more of these areas, we may collectively  hope for a relatively smooth transition through these challenging times.

      I am well aware that this may all seem far fetched and out of context at first reading. The world having run out of ideas (obvious from what we have brought upon ourselves), there is only scope for dreaming left.


    • Hello,

      Greetings from India.

      Kindly bear with this rather long communication. 

      1.Speaking for the Indian situation to put the matter into perspective,  specifically in the field of education: Education here is largely a decentralized  provincial responsibility which means the 20 odd states and union territories have their own curriculum. The curriculum itself carries a strong urban bias, fails to effectively address the critical issues faced by rural communities and is mostly top down chalk and talk. There is hardly any content that attunes the young learner to ecological sensibilities. The content in text books on agriculture still talks of factory style chemical farming,use of pesticides, big dams, large scale irrigation, wheat, rice and sugar cane. Given this, the urban learner has lost out on the farming reality and the rural learner from a farming family is learning the wrong things about farming. The result, we have urban migrations, unskilled, unemployable youth who look for short cuts in livelihood/career opportunities hardly any youth who want to farm by choice.

      So to answer the first question, we will have to begin young, groom children to being attuned to ecological sensibilities, understanding where and how food is grown etc. In this direction there are many efforts in India, but nowhere enough. For any effective outcome it will require to be mainstreamed into the educational system. 

      A recent unpublished article gives a pan India overview of some of these initiatives. attached.

      Tending a Schoolyard Garden, a book that is addressed to the educator, teacher is a readily available resource for anyone who wishes to explore introducing children to the fine art of growing an edible garden in a school/community/group situation. flyer attached

      The real solution may lie in offering a separate holistic curriculum for children and youth that is specific to farming/rural communities, their life and livelihoods. This too is available, for anyone who wants to see it implemented. flyer attached.

      Both the above documents are very relevant to Inida and its neighbouring nations as also to parts of Africa and South American developing nations. 

      2. Women farmers need ownership or at-least co-ownership rights to their land; seed sovereignty; access and direct contact with the consumer (small cooperatives and farmer markets); knowledge of on-farm input production practices, post- harvest processing, preservation and storage knowledge and facility. Sense of self-worth and dignity. The work of DDS in India is worth studying:

      3. Provide infrastructure, sanitation, health cover, education, recreation facility - all that goes into making living comfortable in rural areas. Nobody wishes to leave their home unless forced to by circumstance.

      4. There are scores of initiatives in India and the rest of the world. Will share with this group through subsequent posts. A good site to look at is

      with regards,

      Nyla Coelho