In a world bombarded with processed foods, learning how to create food that can be placed on your platter is certainly a welcome prospect.
At Edricia Farm, in Siolim, students from Sharada Mandir School, Miramar, recently got the opportunity to harvest veggies and do much more as they soiled their hands, experiencing the joy of being at a farm for a day as part of Edricia Farm’s ‘Farm to school study tour’.
A first to be held post the Covid pandemic, the owner of the farm, Tanya Carvalho Fernandes calls it a tangible way of connecting with agriculture and understand firsthand where food comes from.
Besides enabling one to make healthier food choices in an age of processed food, these tours are a way of developing a powerful connection between oneself and the earth, she avers.
On these tours, students learn how vegetables are cultivated without artificial or chemical means, how soil is prepared from farm waste, and are given a demonstration on farming methods – among other activities.
“They are given practical hands-on work in the farm, like planting banana saplings, sweet potato cuttings, sunflower seeds, etc,” says Tanya.
Students are taught to prepare a pot and plant in it. They are taught to use bio-waste and compost to prepare the soil. Each class takes a pot back to school – a reminder of their study tour and an opportunity to care for it back in school, says Tanya.
CUSTOM FARM TOURS
The duration and fees of these educational tours (to Edricia Farm) are always customised for each trip, says Tanya, explaining how the focus of these educational tours is discussed.
“I always speak to the school administrators and ensure the school budget is considered,” she says, adding how at times, schools don’t have a lot of funds, but then she works around things to give schools nominal rates as educating a large number of students is her priority.
That’s was one of the main aims when she got into organic farming – educating young minds on the importance of growing your own food.
“The need for growing your own food became suddenly more important during the pandemic,” says Tanya, referring to food scarcity and transport restrictions that hit the supply of essential items during the pandemic.
“Teachers are not charged and entry is always free for them as they help to organise students into groups and ensure order is maintained,” informs Tanya.
MORE THAN FARMING
At the farm, there’s an art area called ‘The Space’ where interesting arts are taught by artisans and traditional practitioners. On this tour, the students learnt how to weave mats from coconut palms and make interesting articles from the coconut tree.
“Weaving mats from coconut palms,” explains Tanya, “is an eco-friendly way of using things easily found around us.”
But over the years, weaving of mats has waned.
This activity of teaching the young generation how to weave helps keep the tradition alive, and also helps protect the environment by putting the focus on natural alternatives to plastic sheets, the latter which sadly over the years replaced these natural mats.
Tanya stresses on how trips are well thought of based on the age group visiting.
The farm tries to incorporate a magic show or a surprise element for the students too, depending on how much time they can spend at the farm, she says.
The tour can range from an hour to a full day, depending on the school, she states.
Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, various educational institutions visited the farm. The USP of Edricia Farm is its pristine ambience.
“Students love being outdoors on a farm surrounded by nature. The farm also faces beautiful fields and one can hear the sound of so many birds, and watch them all around, too,” she adds.
For more details of Edricia Farm or the ‘Farm to school study tours’:
CONTACT: +91 98224 85296