As I, Sathya, NEST program coordinator, stand amidst the tranquillity of the Agastya campus, Adhivanam reflects a remarkable journey of transformation. This 3-acre haven was once barren, but now it is flourishing with biodiversity, showcasing our commitment to sustainable Farming practices by children at Adhivanam.
Witnessing this vibrant ecosystem emerge from what was once a desolate land, fills me with immense pride and joy. Here, our children don't just learn about farming; they actively engage in cultivating fresh vegetables and greens that contribute to the farm-to-table creation of 250 nutritious school meals served every day.
Here with the help of our children we emphasize soil conservation, utilizing natural bio-manure from our own desi cows, reared on the farm. It also serves as a skill development and training hub where children actively learn and apply techniques to improve the physical, biological, and chemical properties of the soil, utilizing resources readily available within the farm.
We responsibly utilize water sourced from our school's sewage treatment plant. During holidays and periods of insufficient rainfall, we ensure the farm's water needs by harnessing rainwater.
The cultivation of heirloom crops aids in seed regeneration, with ongoing seed banking initiatives. It's a unique space where children contribute to the long-term health of the land.
At Adhivanam, Agastyans are actively involved in discovering the secrets of plant life, such as when to grow them, when to harvest, and how to make special organic manures like panchagavya, Amirthakarisal, fish amino, and natural pest repellents.
The farm employs sustainable farming methods, embracing techniques like companion cropping and intercropping, where plants work together, minimizing the need for human intervention. It's like creating a natural balance where plants can thrive with just a little guidance from the children.
In our unique haven, Adhivanam, we do not limit to traditional farming activities. We have opened up avenues for research on wild herbs but also delved into a detailed study of farm insects and the benefits of Desi cow manures.
We're growing food; we're actively shaping the menus at Agastya Academy by providing farm's seasonal fruits and special wild herbs that not only enhance flavours but also serve medicinal purposes.
Vrindavan Vatika Boarding Home children partake in morning routines at the farm. They actively participating in sowing, crop protection, harvesting, pest management, and understanding how much we get from the farm and how long it lasts.
Watch as Agastyans Engage in the Harvesting of Onions
Guidance from Experts
We have a dedicated farming facilitator at the school who provides guidance to both boarding children and day scholar students. The predominant mentorship role, shaping the entire school team and premises, is undertaken by Mr. Arunachalam, who worked closely with the renowned green crusader Nammalvar, adding an invaluable dimension to their agricultural education. Nammalvar did amazing things in ecological and organic farming, and his teachings continue to shape how Mr. Arunachalam guides our children at Adhivanam.
Adhivanam is a green haven. With hands-on experiences and expert guidance, we implement sustainable farming practices by children. Here, they connect deeply with nature, creating habits that will contribute to a greener and more sustainable future.