Conservation farm training for sustainability is essential for the community to live independently. In partnership with the community, parents learn practical conservation farming. This facilitates the provision of sustainable school meals as the community take over responsibility for the school meals over a period of years.
Our staff in Kenya work with the school children and teachers in practical lessons about farming and care of the soil. Each class has a plot in the school grounds where they are responsible for preparing the plot, sowing the seeds, maintaining the area by keeping it weed free, watering, observing for bugs or disease all the way through to harvest.
“Seeing is believing” so we always aim to have a demonstration plot to compare conventional with conservation methods and outcomes. We have learned that those who implement the conservation farming methods will be seen by neighbours. This is such a good way to win over the doubters. When the quality and yield improve, everyone one wants to know how they can get those results.
The conservation farming principles we teach include: –
- minimising soil disturbance > avoid ploughing; use zero or minimal tillage
- maintaining maximum soil cover > avoid burning; use crop residues as mulch; use manure and composting
- practice rotation using legumes when possible > improves soil structure and nutrient status; breaks pest and disease cycles
Conservation farm training for sustainability becomes a reality when people see good results for themselves!