"I feel connected to the plant who's seed I have sown and feel responsible to take care of it," said Vivek Gala (9), a Class 5 student at MET's Rishikul Vidyalaya at Bandra.
"It is exciting to see the plant grow and I enjoy learning about plants live instead of learning it only through a textbook."
Gala's is one the schools in the city that has started creating and maintaining kitchen gardens and compost pits in the school premises to teach botany and plant classifications.
The school created a compost pit this January and kitchen gardening was introduced for students of Classes 5, 6 and 7 this academic year.
The school has a fruit break and the fruit peels are collected by the students and disposed in the compost pit.
The students dedicate at least one hour every week at school tilling land, sowing seeds of vegetables and then harvesting the crop.
"The students know when to sow the seeds. They understand soil textures and see creatures such as earthworms and understand their significance. This helps them understand concepts better," said Kavita Sanghvi, vice principal of the school.
"They have started understanding the difference between organic vegetables and the ones they get in the market."
This process was developed by some of the parents from the school who formed an organisation called Are you reducing, reusing, recycling (RUR).
"In a city where we barely have space, kids understand the importance of farming and they go back home and practice it," said Monisha Narke, co-founder of RUR and a parent of two children who study at Rishikul.
Other schools in the city such as Tridha at Vile Parle also have similar kitchen gardens.
At Tridha, Class 6 students created a compost pit and a 'vegetable patch' where they grow pumpkins, cucumbers, ladyfingers, bottle gourds and other seasonal vegetables.
"Students understand and appreciate the efforts of a farmer. They get a green thumb and become sensitive to nature," said Lajja Mandal, a Class 6 teacher and a microbiology graduate.
"They also understand their food chain from sowing the vegetable to marketing it. They simultaneously study geography as they understand what type of soil is required for different crops."