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SFS reconnects students to traditional farming

By EMN Updated: Jul 06, 2017 12:07 am
Students learning bee-keeping during the Summer Farm School. 

Dimapur, July 5 (EMN): To reconnect young people with nature and help them understand the local food systems and traditional knowledge of agriculture, a Summer Farm School (SFS) was organised by North East Network (NEN) from June 29 to July 5 at NEN Resource Centre, Chizami, in Phek district. A total of 19 students comprising fourteen girls and five boys from various schools in Kohima, Dimapur, Phek and Chizami participated at the weeklong programme.
Starting with quiet time every day, participants were introduced to different classroom and outdoor activities based on topics including ‘Understanding our natural world and food chain,’ ‘Role of pollinators,’ ‘Traditional and ecological farming system,’ ‘Soil and pest management, forest food, wild edibles and healing plants.’

Students transplanting paddy in the wet terrace field.

In the outdoor and practical sessions, students were exposed to bee keeping, butterfly walk and its identification, moth watching, creating a pollinators’ garden, paddy transplantation, preparation of bio-pesticide, biodiversity walk to the forest and jhum field, documentation of wild edibles and herbal medicines, and story-telling sessions. In the weeklong programme, students also learned to explore and express their creativity through music, fine arts, creative writing and performance.
The resource persons were Nzanbemo Kikon, member of Nagaland Beekeeping and Honey Mission; Akummeren, member of Nagaland Bio-Resource Mission; Dr. Liza B Bharali from KVK Phek; community elders and knowledge holders – Eneipelo Thopi, Khenemvu L Mero, Tasetshulo-u Kapfo, Kekhwe-u T Mero, Kezukha-u Mero, Dikhwetso-u Wezah, Weyienyi-u Tsuhah, and NEN members Kewekhrozo Thopi, Stephen Gangmei, Seno Tsuhah, and Wekoweu Tsuhah.
Speaking as special guest at the valedictory programme on July 5, Mese Kapfo, SDEO, Pfutsero, articulated that ‘possessing high qualification without quality and life skills have no place in today’s society and insisted that it is crucial for students to choose a vocation from young age.’ He encouraged the participants to be dedicated students who value life skills and not just be a nominal student. He also appealed to the parents to support their children in acquiring such skills.
Delivering the closing remark, Ms Seno Tsuhah, NEN, expressed her hope that the programme had enabled young participants to start looking at nature from a new perspective. Further, she expressed optimism that activities such as school gardening can be included in the school curriculum, whereby students can connect with nature around them and learn to grow food.
A student of Patkai College, Menule Chirhah, shared her experience of the SFS on behalf of the students. Parents of the students also spoke at the event. Special highlight of the programme was the exhibition of students’ project which included posters, herbariums, music and a role play.
The valedictory function was attended by parents, teachers, resource persons, NEN team and well wishers.

By EMN Updated: Jul 06, 2017 12:07:20 am