Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Food for the poor from President of India

An adherent to unpretentious living, President Pratibha Patil does not believe in extravagance or wastage. And at a time when the country’s poor are fighting a losing battle against inflation, the President is keen to make the best use of everything produced in her kitchen garden.

Her own needs being frugal and with simple meals the order of the day, banquets and State visits are the only occasions when master chefs lay out an a la carte menu. The President, however, wants to provide nutritious food to the underprivileged children for whom getting even two square meals a day is sometimes a luxury.

“Ms. Patil is very particular that nothing is wasted. She has instructed her staff to ensure that anything that is not consumed in the kitchen is sent to institutions for the needy,” says a Rashtrapati Bhavan official.

While a small portion of the produce from the kitchen garden — fruits and seasonal vegetables — are set aside for consumption of the First Family, the rest is given to schools run for the visually challenged.

“As and when the produce is ready, it is taken to the institutions for the visually handicapped. Recently Rashtrapati Bhavan packed 33 kg of spinach and cabbage, 30 kg of green mango and 75 kg of onion for the students of five blind schools in the city,” the official revealed.

Spread over five acres, the kitchen garden is divided into sections — each earmarked for growing different types of fruits and vegetables. The practice of sharing this produce with the underprivileged has been followed over the years without a break.

“There are several types of fruits that are grown, from mangoes to kinnu and lemons. All seasonal vegetables, from okra to pumpkins, a variety of cabbages, turnips, broccoli and onions are also grown.

When the produce is ripe and ready it is packed and sent to institutions for the needy. The practice has almost become a part of the several traditions followed at Rashtrapati Bhavan,” said the official.

Source: http://www.hindu.com/2008/05/21/stories/2008052154242000.htm

Forget yourself for others, and others will never forget you.

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