Redefining Learning To Reinvent Education And Restoring Our Agricultural Land


This blog is republished here with permission from Sanskriti The Gurukul

The Experiential Learning Programme, “Are You Going To Eat That?” is an initiative taken by Sanskriti The Gurukul to restore our agricultural lands and revive organic farming practices. Under this programme students were introduced to the form of learning where knowledge is derived from real life and is being continuously modified by the experiences a learner goes through. This programme aims at bridging the gap between the urban and rural areas and mainly introduces the students to the world of Organic Agriculture and prepares them as the mascot for restoring our agricultural land and developing Community Sustained Agriculture.

During the phase 1 of the programme, students of study centre VI went for an agricultural expedition on 12-11-19, to start up with their journey of experiencing the joy of growing their own food by Sowing the Seeds for their first Organic Crop at Mikibheta, Morigaon, Assam. The school collaborated with the farmers of Morigaon and convinced them to give their land for carrying out organic farming and also to contribute as resource persons for guiding our students.

During the full day programme, students experienced the life of a farmer by getting into their shoes as they got an opportunity to sow the seeds of Potato and Mustard in an area of around 34,000 sq ft. The students were also exposed to the process of traditional ploughing and tilling of the soil followed by the technicality and methods of sowing different types of seeds. They learnt to sow the seeds of potato at a distance of 30 cm whereas they used broadcasting method for sowing mustard seeds.Further, the farmers gave a presentation on different types of agricultural equipment and its utility in the agricultural sector. For understanding the dynamics of agriculture and to learn about the role of Local Self Government in the agricultural decisions of a village our students met with and interviewed the senior members of the village and the members of Gram Panchayat (local self-governing body).

After sowing the seeds it was the time to understand the irrigational requirements and nutritional needs of the crop. Students conducted few experiments to understand the rate of evaporation in order to calculate how much water will be required by their crop and thus how they can regulate optimum water supply. Moreover, they also started soil testing for checking the soil pH and relating the same with the health of the plant. The major challenge was to protect the growing crop from the pest and to ensure the supply of nutrients organically; also it was difficult to convince the farmers for the same.

While conducting a survey in the village students were surprised to know that most of the farmers were growing the crop for their own consumption separately on a different piece of land whereas, for the commercial purpose they were growing their crops by adding agro-chemicals. Also, the farmers accepted that the crops grown with agro-chemicals had adverse effect on health and thus they stopped consuming it. The farmers also informed that many people from their village who were exposed to excessive agro-chemicals suffered and had died in last few years.

Learning how to sow potato seeds

This survey data was used by our students to further convince few farmers for not to use any agro-chemicals but opt for organic farming.Considering the issue of pest and crop nutrition our students prepared organic pesticide from neem leaves (leaves of Azadirachta indica ) and even taught the process to the local farmers. Students guided the farmers to prepare a compost pit and the manure from the same and the cow dung available in the village was used as organic fertilizer.

During this whole programme, students explored various  aspects like the impact of geographical and climatic conditions on the crop and economic reasons that force a farmer to opt for agro-chemicals on a large scale. The whole programme continued from November,2019 – February, 2020 and finally on 1st February, 2020  our students harvested their first crop grown by them.It was a thrilling experience for the children as they learned about two different techniques used to harvest Potato and Mustard crops. The kids dug into the soil to discover the treasure hidden in it and they were thrilled to see how their seeds have given rise to such huge potatoes. They were trained by the farmers and later the farmers also used a plough to help the children in the process of harvesting. The students went round and round behind the plough in excitement to collect the potatoes and even started counting the potatoes collected by them. It was a treat for our eyes as educators, to see our kids working hard and sharing the responsibility with the farmers and coming together as a team to collect all the potatoes from the field. The students also harvested mustard and kept it in the field for drying. We were able to harvest 600 Kgs of Potatoes and all the children were allowed to take their share back at home to relish it with their family. And at last the most memorable day ended with soiled hands, dirtiest clothes, a big smile, lots of learning, wonderful experience of a lifetime and lots of potatoes with us….

Although in the year 2020 we were unable to implement  this programme on field, our students are still working on preparing new organic fertilizers and pesticides and are constantly guiding the farmers hoping to  get back in the agricultural  fields in November’21.

Soon we’ll be coming up with Phase 2 of “ Are you going to eat that?” continuing to restore our agricultural land and believing in the quote:

“A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.”


#NatureForAll Newsletter

Keep up with #NatureForAll! Subscribe to our newsletter:

We respect your privacy.