Sunday, April 11, 2021

Connecting urban-based students to local food and farming systems in rural Chizami

NEN SFS students visiting the jhum field site at Chizami

Dimapur, July 3: NEN Summer Farm School (SFS) was held from June 27 to July 2 at Chizami village on the theme, ‘Bridging the farm-to-plate-gap’ with an aim to connect urban-based students with local food and farming systems through an experiential learning module.
It also aimed to bridge the traditional knowledge gap on sustainable food systems and make students understand the process from food production to consumption.
“The experience at the SFS is amazing. I realized the beauty of nature and the importance of everything around us in Chizami. It was my first time experience transplanting paddy in the terrace fields. A visit to the jhum fields is a walk to remember,” said Hazel Odyuo, a student of Livingstone Foundation Higher Secondary School, Dimapur.
“The best thing during the camp was the quiet time, from which we learnt that we should give time to ourselves, listen and know what nature want from us,” said Vizotuonuo Kelelie, a student of Mt. Hermon Hr. Sec. School, Kohima.
“Because of this summer camp, I am a lot more inspired by nature. Now I have become more interested in exploring nature and its benefits,” noted Kuthovezo Medeo, a student from Baptist High, Kohima.
Guest speaker at the valedictory programme on July 2, Vechulou-u Kanuo, Executive Director, CWWS emphasized on the importance of growing one’s own food that is free from chemicals in order to stay healthy and live long as she shared a quote from Japan ‘chemical is war, organic is peace’.
She called on the students to ‘recognize, respect and love the farmers for their contribution to food production.
“Unless we have farmers to grow food and rear livestock, we, the consumers even if we have enough money will not sustain,” she said.
Seno Tsuhah, NEN in her concluding remarks motivated the students to ‘translate their learning into action’ back in their homes and schools. She expressed her happiness to hear that 50% of the students have pledged to start a backyard garden in their homes.
Others pledged to decrease the buying and consumption of junk food, spread awareness on harmful effects of chemical use and promote organic farming, start a mini bee farm, document the edible plants in their areas and spread awareness on its conservation, amongst others.
SFS students presented their experiences and learning through skit, music, poetry reading, poster exhibition and speech. Participation certificates were given away by Vechulou-u Kanuo, Andrew Ahoto, Chairman LFHSS, Zulhipe Chirhah and Mhetshelo T.Kapfo, Sub-Inspector of Schools.
It may be mentioned that NEN organizes the Summer Farm School annually and this is its 3rd year. The 6-day school covered topics of Ecology and food chain, pollinators, jhum farming, terrace rice farming, homestead gardening, biodiversity walk and foraging wild edible plants, organic food production and consumption, community living and culture.
Twenty-two high school students from 6 educational institutions in Kohima and Dimapur participated in the SFS 2018. Resource persons included custodian farmers and community knowledge holders from Chizami, Zulhipe Chirhah, Khenemvu L.Mero, Mesilhi-u Akami, Dikhwetsou Wezah, Tasetshulou-u Kapfo and Kezukha-u Wezah; Dr. Samhita Barooah, Freelance researcher and writer, Er. Khuvoi Vese, NBHM, Dr. Esther Longkumer, ACTO Soil, KVK-ICAR, Wetshete Thopi, Lecturer, Kilentola Jamir, Teacher and Volunteer IoFC, and NEN members.
(Page News Service)