Because land is one of the most productive and precious resources in Udalo, ER is dedicating much of its efforts to protect it and promote a sustainable use of farmland.
Over time, we teamed up with farming communities, schools, local farmers networks, and scientists to exchange and transfer knowledge and know-how about sustainable agriculture and organic farming. One of our key educational projects is the School Garden / Kitchen Garden project.
Nemesio at work with the Kitchen Garden project
On a piece of land gracefully provided by Monet, one of the major landowners of the area, we established a training and demonstration farm next to the school. For 2 years it has been a ground for high school students to learn about organic farming, agro-ecological practices and permaculture principles through trainings, observations, and hands on experiments.
Elsa, Roda and Christine, set up a 6 months school program in which students were thought how to conduct a group project from its conception to its implementation and presentation. Roda, with the help of Sjors (a biologist from the Netherlands) and Guillaume (a permaculture practitioner from France), provided trainings on the topics of soil fertility, organic fertilisation, companion plants, and much more.
Students organised in groups of 3 to 6 had to design, establish and take care of a small kitchen garden plot. They could use plants and technics of their choice, and were provided with seeds, tools, and a small budget to present their final project. Every week, during class, they could dedicate some time to their project. Nemicio, Christine and Roda were always around to assist them.
They learned the theory and practice of producing a good compost, of mulching and soil coverage to prevent drought and erosion, the technicalities and challenge to grow and transplant a healthy seedling, and many more essential things.
The end of the school year was a time to show their results and share their experience! Each group presented their project to their classmates and parents, and some even won an award: the Award of the prettiest garden, the Award of the most resource efficient garden, the Award of the most productive garden, the Award of the hardest working team, the Project management award, etc.
Christine (center) is giving some advice to the students
Guillaume and Sjors did a great job at organising and providing trainings and seminars. Together with Nemicio, they also took care of the land during summer holidays. We are happy to see that the many trees and vegetables they planted are growing.
We would like to address a big thank you to Sir Felix, the former Head Teacher, who has moved to another region, and to Sjors and Guillaume for sharing their knowledge. It was a lot of fun, for us and for the students, and we hope to renew this experience next school year!
Christine and Nemicio are now managing the land, and turning it into a beautiful and productive garden, providing fruits, vegetables and shade.
They installed a dwell, repaired the fences, planted many new fruits, vegetables and herbs, such as passion fruit, pineapple, basil, mint and oregano. They regularly harvest seeds to donate them to other local farmers and households. They are continuously applying mulching, green manure and composting in order to keep the soil fertile and healthy.
While waiting for the next batch of students, we enjoy seeing this beautiful forest-garden taking shape, thanks to their hard work. This example of a productive garden, situated right at the entrance of the village, is inspiring local households to also establish kitchen gardens in their backyards. In the last year we observed many small productive plots appearing in the villages, also thanks to incentives of the social welfare department.
Guillaume is sharing some permaculture tips