Around 100 students of a Koyilandy school planted paddy on a small plot under the guidance of farmers.

A small barren plot near Thiruvangoor in Koyilandy sprung to life on Saturday, the first day of Chingom. Little footmarks crisscrossed its length and breadth. ‘Koithupattu’ (harvest song) from young throats brought back memories of the days when the soil catered to all our food needs.

Around 100 students of the Thiruvangoor Higher Secondary School had a memorable initiation into paddy cultivation. The project titled ‘Paadathil ninnu paadathilekku’ (From textbook to paddy field) was chalked out by teachers to make the students realise the need for conserving fast-depleting paddy fields.

“The project was taken up by the ‘Farmer’s Club’ of the upper primary section. In the past few years, the club has successfully grown vegetable gardens and herbal gardens. This year, we tested the students’ knowledge of paddy fields and were surprised to find that some had not even seen a paddy field. That is how we hit upon this idea,” says Sunil Mokeri, a teacher.

Students from classes 5 to 7 entered the field in farmers’ attire — vest, thorthu, and lungi. Eleven experienced farmers were at hand to guide them. “The land was tilled and kept ready for the students. They did all the transplanting of crops today. The presence of the experienced farmers helped a lot. They were happy to share their knowledge with the younger lot,” says C. Satheesan, a teacher.

For the students, it was like a day at the playground but one which enriched them in many ways. They repeated the harvest songs sung by the farmers and took to the field enthusiastically.

“It felt great to stand in the wet mud, sing songs, and plant crops. This is our small step in bringing back paddy cultivation which is facing a threat. We learned a lot thanks to the farmers who helped us. We will tend to the crops all through the year and harvest it,” says Sreelekshmi of class 6.

The school plans to turn the harvesting into a big celebration, an event which is being eagerly awaited by the students. Today, they went back home a content lot with a better knowledge of how their plates and stomachs are filled.

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