A Two-Day Farm Experience for School Students
15 students from Magizham Open Learning School, Hosur accompanied by 7 teachers, visited the Bhoomi Farmers’ Centre in Tiruvannamalai for two days. The two-day camp offered opportunities for children to immerse themselves in various nature-based activities and sessions.
There was a farm walk-through where children were taken around the Bhoomi farm campus. The centre, set up in June 2018 on an 80 Acre dry uncultivated land, predominantly covered with stones and boulders now stands transformed with several ponds to store rain water; hundreds of native species of trees; an organic farm where millets, tapioca, banana, turmeric, paddy and many crops are cultivated. Children were able to observe the water harvesting structures - like bunds, trenches, ponds; live fences, dry land cropping, diversity of trees, fruit orchids, cows and agriculture methods practised in the farm.
We had a classroom session where we spoke to the children about the necessity of poly-cropping, the need to ensure biodiversity and the relationship of soil to human’s health.
Tulsidas, a farmer from Chengam, nearby village, accepted our invitation and came to the farm to interact with the children. He spoke to them from his personal experience of how he made the transition from chemical-based farming to organic farming. He also spoke on various topics like sustainable farming practices followed by him, types of crops grown in his farmland, organic pesticides that he uses, why traditional agriculture is sustainable and followed by Q&A session to clarify the questions from the young minds & teachers.
What is a farm experience without getting our hands and feet dirty? We had a very interesting hands-on activity session planned – in the field for them. Paddy seedlings are transplanted on fields that are “puddled” or tilled in standing water. Children plus the teachers, including the head master of the school went into the muddy field and tried their hands at transplanting paddy seedlings. The entire group enjoyed themselves and their energy was indescribable.
As part of this two-day program, we had organized a traditional games session (indoor and outdoor) with Immaculate Antony of Ima ReCreations.
There was also an afternoon activity of clay idol making – Ganapathy commemorating the Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations that were to follow.
The camp came to an end with a reflection session where children shared how much they have learnt. Some students said they cherished the hands-on activity in the paddy field. Some children were thrilled with the traditional games that they learnt. Both Children and the teachers were glad to understand that by practising natural farming and following the principles of nature, it is possible to revive dry, barren land and soil. This land is proof of that.
The entire team has expressed their interest to come once again during the harvest season to participate and relive the farm experience all over again.
If your scool would like to offer this experience to children, contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org