Coimbatore

A school for food

Harvesting greens

Harvesting greens  

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Dhivya Vasudevan spreads awareness about pesticide-free agriculture to classrooms

Dhivya Vasudevan grew up in Chennimalai near Erode. There her family grew tomatoes, paddy and groundnut. “We used chemical fertilisers then. My perception changed after I gave birth to my child Arul in 2011. I was shocked to learn that these chemicals can reach a child through the mother’s milk. It scared me and I decided to do something about it,” she says. She spent the next six months researching on organic farming practices and natural alternatives to pesticides. “I had worked with an agricultural firm before and knew something about going organic. I travelled around the state to meet farmers for three months to learn more about different crops. It was an eye opener. Many were unaware of the harm they were doing to Nature. Some were ready to make the shift to organic.” Dhivya moved to Coimbatore in 2012 and started Agro Green Biolife, a company that manufactures organic manure and natural pesticides. She now works with 4600 farmers and holds awareness sessions and offers organic solutions to their farming problems.

In the course of her mission to go organic, Dhivya realised that there was a attitudenal problem with the younger generation that did not want to take up farming. “They feel that farmers are looked down upon. This mindset has to change and for this to happen one has to learn about agriculture from a young age. This is why I approached schools and asked if they were willing to introduce agriculture as a subject.” She began with GD Matriculation Higher Secondary School and Hindusthan Billabong School in July. “One session a week of Agriculture was added to their time table. We formulated a curriculum for class I to VIII. It includes both theory and practical. The schools have also allotted a small piece of land for farming. Children prepare the soil, sow, weed, water, add manure amd harvest. We encourage them to grow greens, tomato, tuber and flowering plants.”

The children harvested ripe tomatoes from these plants after 60 days in September. “They looked proud. It was such a joy to watch them. The veggies that they grow goes to their school canteen. So they also get to eat healthy chemical free food,” says Dhivya. This encouraged her to take the idea to five government schools at Ashokapuram, Vagarayanpalayam,Vellakinar, Alanthurai and Saravanampatty. “We have a total of 2000 students and these classes are conducted free of cost. The children have planted molankeerai, sirukeerai, arakeerai and senkeerai in October. The greens will soon be harvested,” she says

Dhivya works with a team of seven agriculture instructors. “While the younger classes will be taught about germination, older children will also learn to identify diseases and the organic remedies to counter them. Only when a child comes close to nature and nurture a plant will she understand the difficulty of producing something.”

Call 9790366699 for details.

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Printable version | Jan 25, 2020 2:29:40 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Coimbatore/dhivya-vasudevan-teaches-lessons-on-organic-farming-to-school-students-in-coimbatore/article30253318.ece

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