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Urja Chetana

‘Urja Chetana’ is currently being implemented in 30 schools in and around Kolkata. The programme seeks to generate awareness and action on environment and sustainability among students, who would carry the learnings to their homes and communities. The teachers and students are trained through various workshops, conducted by experts, on conducting energy and waste audits, composting, paper recycling, rainwater harvesting among others. Schools undertake energy and waste audits as well as activities on composting, paper recycling, rainwater harvesting and medicinal garden development.

Please visit www.urjachetana.in for more info.

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NEWS STORY | POSTED ON 07 JUNE 2016 | ORGANIC FARMING, GREEN SCHOOLS, WILDLIFE
Rohan Mukerjee, Sustainability champ
Working to safeguard diversity!
School kids visit organic garden
Most school children are not aware that they literally consume poison - in their "healthy" veggies. Visting an organic garden gives them an eyeopener... there's another way to grow produce... without pesticides and chemical fertilisers.

Kolkata – On 31 May 2016, the Green for Life Foundation (G4L) in collaboration with Centre for Environment Education (CEE) conducted a workshop on organic gardening with students of 9 Kolkata schools and their teachers. Nineteen students from senior classes and 7 teachers from Titagarh Arya Vidyalaya, Bidyapara High School, Hare School, The Park Institution, Kumar Ashutosh Institution, Garden Reach Maulana Azad Memorial for Girl’s, The Scottish, Church Collegiate School, Ballygunge Government High School, Lee Collins High School, all being Bengali Medium schools except the English Medium Scottish Church Collegiate School.

Green for Life Foundation was represented by two of its trustees Mr. Curtis Arathoon and Mr. Farrell Shah and Ecological Economist Rohan Mukerjee; while CEE was represented by Programme Officer, Sangeeta Basa.

The workshop was conducted at an organic garden in Jaffarpur-Shirakol area around 34 km from Kolkata. The organic garden which comprises 3 bighas of land is owned by Mr. Samad Mullah and tended to by his family and one of his sons in particular, Burujuddin Mullah (Bullu). Green for Life Foundation has been promoting and creating awareness on organic farming in the Jaffarpur-Shirakol area for the last several years and has been extending financial and technical support to the Mullah’s organic garden since 2013.

Braving the heat of the Summer afternoon to listen to Prof (Dr.) Rehabul Haq!

The organic garden produces a variety of vegetables that include brinjal (aubergine), tomato, barbati (yard long beans), snake gourd, bitter gourd, bhindi (okra), pumpkin, onion leeks, beet root, broccoli, peas, cabbage and cauliflower. The produce is sold principally in the urban market through Green for Life Foundation’s faithful customers through home delivery at a rate on average marginally higher than their chemically cultivated counterparts.

The workshop chaired by Mr. Curtis Arathoon commenced with an introduction to organic farming and organic food by our resource person Dr. Rehabul Haq. Currently residing in Diamond Harbour, Dr. Haq is a Phd in Agriculture and a recipient of the President’s Award. He highlighted the serious negative health impacts of food and crops produced using chemical pesticides and fertilisers which included various serious diseases like cancer. He then guided the students through the process of organic ecologically sensitive farming methods that produce healthy food while limiting damage to our environment and also gave useful tips on how the students can grow their own vegetables in their houses.

The students then explored the organic garden under the watchful eye of Dr. Haq. Despite being the off season the garden still had a number of vegetables like bhindi plants with their lovely yellow and brown flowers, brinjal, chilli and pumpkin. The children braved the sun enjoying the inputs of Prof. Haq .

Bullu demonstrated the process of making "Amrit Pani", an organic fertiliser and pest repellant and also showed the students the garden’s compost pit.

After exploring the garden the students were shown a power point presentation on organic food and cultivation. The presentation was made by Rohan Mukerjee and it stressed the need for a shift to organic farming, the face of the various health and environmental problems we are facing and it highlighted the environmental, social and economic benefits of organic farming as opposed to the detrimental impacts of chemical based farming practices. The presentation included interactions with the students and questions to gauge their understanding of the topic and their opinions about current agricultural practices.


Bullu shows the guests how to prepare "Amrit Paani"

The workshop ended with a short documentary on organic cultivation in West Bengal and three environmental songs calling for each one of us to work together to save and protect planet earth and make it a better place for all living creatures. The success of the workshop was reflected by the enthusiasm of the students and their eagerness to learn more about organic farming and healthy food from the experts present. Green for Life foundation is committed to spreading awareness among our youth about sustainable and environmentally friendly technologies and helping make them agents of change to ensure a healthier and more sustainable future for planet earth.

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