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Home gardens, also known as forest gardens, are found in humid areas. They use inter-cropping to cultivate trees, crops, and livestock on the same land. In Kerala in South India as well as in northeastern India, they are the most common form of land use; they are also found in Indonesia, One example combines coconut, black pepper, cocoa and pineapple.

In many African countries, for example Zambia, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, gardens are widespread in rural, periurban and urban areas and they play an essential role in establishing food security. Most well known are the Chaga or Chagga gardens on the slopes of Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. These are an excellent example of an agroforestry system. In many countries, women are the main actors in home gardening and food is mainly produced for subsistence.

In Nepal, the home garden, literally known in Nepali as Ghar Bagaincha, refers to the traditional land use system around a homestead, where several species of plants are grown and maintained by household members and their products are primarily intended for the family consumption (Shrestha et al., 2002). The term “home garden” is often considered synonymous to the kitchen garden. However, they differ in terms of function, size, diversity, composition and features (Sthapit et al., 2006). In Nepal, 72% of households have home gardens of an area 2-11% of the total land holdings (Gautam et al., 2004). Because of their small size, the government has never identified home gardens as an important unit of food production and it thereby remains neglected from research and development. However, at the household level the system is very important as it is the an important source of quality food and nutrition for the rural poor and, therefore, are important contributors to the household food security and livelihoods of farming communities in Nepal. They are typically cultivated with a mixture of annual and perennial plants that can be harvested on a daily or seasonal basis. Biodiversity that has an immediate value is maintained in home gardens as women and children have easy access to preferred food, and for this reason alone we should promote home gardens as a key element for a healthy way of life. Home gardens, with their intensive and multiple uses, provide a safety net for households when food is scarce. These gardens are not only important sources of food, fodder, fuel, medicines, spices, herbs, flowers, construction materials and income in many countries, they are also important for the in situ conservation of a wide range of unique genetic resources for food and agriculture (Subedi et al., 2004). Many uncultivated, as well as neglected and underutilised species could make an important contribution to the dietary diversity of local communities (Gautam et al., 2004).

In addition to supplementing diet in times of difficulty, home gardens promote whole-family and whole-community involvement in the process of providing food. Children, the elderly, and those caring for them can participate in this infield agriculture, incorporating it with other household tasks and scheduling. This tradition has existed in many cultures around the world for thousands of years.[1][2]

These gardens exemplify polyculture, and conserve much crop genetic diversity and heirloom plants that are not found in monocultures. There are now efforts to apply a similar concept in temperate climates (forest gardening).

Home Gardening Sub topic - Forest Gardening in Kannur, Kerala Kannur is an incredible district in Kerala which shows utmost interest in preserving forest gardens. Besides, the forest gardens in Kannur are preserved with due care because of the traditional way of worshiping nature as the embodiment of God. For instance, the 'Kaavus' or the local temples in Kannur possess the glory of preserved forests without human encroachment. Some of the most endangered species of wild life can be seen in Kaavus. For instance, the 'Parappool Kaavu' (Mele Kaavu and Thazhe Kaavu) and 'Kayyath Naagam' are important local temples in Taliparamba (Kannur District) with private forests/ forest gardens. The 'Parappool Kaavu' is situated at Parappool, 4-5 kilometers away from Taliparamba. The rich vegetation within the area of the Parappool Kaavu is still to be explored. On the other side, the Kayyath Naagam is closely connected to the Indian way of worshiping snakes. The vegetation preserved within the area includes 30 acres of land. The surrounding areas of Kayyam are full of paddy fields. The rich vegetation preserved within the area of Kayyath Naagam acts the role of a lung which purifies and recharges the air, water and the atmosphere. Normally, the believers are allowed to visit the temple not the preserved area. But, the believers are allowed to visit the preserved area on 'Aayilyam Naal' or a particular day in every year. Besides, the Kayyath Naagam authorities show keen interest to preserve the vegetation by not allowing the poachers to enter the preserved area.


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