Tag Archives: Organic Farming

Asian cousin-ship towards a Pollution-free planet

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Wow! There were over 200 delegates from the Asia and Pacific Regions gathered at the United Nations Convention Center in Bangkok. The theme of the Asia Pacific Ministerial Summit was to establish resource-efficient and pollution-free planet.

Over 200 NGO delegates from Asia-Pacific region made the Bangkok assembly at the U.N memorable

Over 200 NGO delegates from Asia-Pacific region made the Bangkok assembly at the U.N memorable

Tarumitra was represented by Devopriya Dutta and Dr Robert Athickal, the Co-ordinator. Devopriya delivered a statement on the impacts of pesticides and toxins on children, emphasized on organic farming and Agro-ecology, and appealed for achieving sustainable development by making environmental studies a part of the curriculum.

Tarumitra Delegate Devopriya Dutta spoke on the impact of pesticides in food as part of her presentation on Agro-ecology

Tarumitra Delegate Devopriya Dutta spoke on the impact of pesticides in food as part of her presentation on Agro-ecology. The Assembly Hall readily gave her a loud clap of approval of her concerns she voiced.

The Ministerial Summit was held from 4th-8th September 2017. Not only the country delegates from the Asia Pacific subcontinent participated in this event, various communities representing the civil society made their wonderful presence felt too. The main communities who presented their views for achieving the 17 sustainable development goals were the farmers, women, NGOs, children and youth, indigenous people mainly.

This Ministerial Summit was conducted for adopting and declaring a strong ministerial declaration with commitments to achieve gender equality, basic human rights, eradicating poverty, creating opportunities for green jobs, thus ensuring a self-sustained nation.

Asian Delegates Sarojeni Rengam, Devopriya Dutta, Meena Bilgi and Devopriya's Mentor Deeppa Ravindran

Asian Delegates Sarojeni Rengam, Devopriya Dutta, Meena Bilgi and Devopriya’s Mentor Deeppa Ravindran

All the Asian countries are the member states of the UN meeting, who come together in the annual Ministeral Summit organised by the UN family, the strongest network and the strongest family in the whole wide world. Some nations may be developed, some developing and others may be on their way of becoming self-sustained nations.

This summit reflected upon the success stories as well as the struggles made by these nations to ensure sustainable development with green economy. It was very nice to hear about Singapore, Bhutan and Burma as some of the greenest nations which the rest of the world is looking onto. Not only were these three nations appreciated by the member countries, there were regarded as the role models too.

Delegate from Iran Hana Mo came with lots of field experience to match with Tarumitra's interest in Environmental Education.

Delegate from Iran Hana Mo came with lots of field experience to match with Tarumitra’s interest in Environmental Education.

One of the major prime highlights of the summit was that nobody said that they represented this or that country–Everybody was unanimous in a common echo,  ‘We are all Asians. One world one planet.’ It was very heartening to witness more of women representation and the topic of gender issue to be highlighted in a very appropriate way. Even the LGBT community shared the same desk, same dining space and the same stand in this entire summit.

The visit to Bangkok was an insight into the infrastructure of the country and the lubricant of this entire mechanism was the resource.

"Great hospitality of Thailand!" the delegates kept repeating on the final day. Devopriya and Fr Robert posing at the entrance to the UN buildng

“Great hospitality of Thailand!” the delegates kept repeating on the final day. Devopriya and Fr Robert posing at the entrance to the UN building

The main resource or the asset of Thailand is that the people are happy, and why? Because they are hard-working. They are leading a life very close to nature. Not only they talk about being eco-friendly or eco-sensitive, but also practice what they preach. The traffic is well maintained. Hygiene and sanitation are given the topmost priority over there. They are seriously working towards reducing marine pollution and promoting agro-ecology via organic farming.

Memorable to meet with the Ambassadors of the Asia-Pacific countries.

Memorable to meet with the Ambassadors of the Asia-Pacific countries. Our Bhutanese cousin in the center!

The entire five days Asia Pacific Summit made us believe that we are not the only ones worried about our green future, but serious and more constructive and innovative efforts are being taken by the rest of the world as well.

Tarumitra believes in Vasudhaiva Kutumbhakam “the whole world is a family” and this Asia Pacific Summit made the motion very loud and vivid that the whole world is my family. Our earth is our mother; we all are her children. She doesn’t differentiate on the basis of nationality, state or colour. Then, who are we to draw boundaries?  Our common goal is ensuring a green and sustainable future while living the present as well, in the same manner. It was very heartening to address each other in the summit as ‘My dear cousins’

Devopriya being the youngest of delegates caught the attention of the Delegates, Ministers and Media.

Devopriya being the youngest of delegates caught the attention of the Delegates, Ministers and Media.

“For the five days, miles away from our own motherland, the other 200 country delegates became our family members. The summit is now over, but the bonds that have been made will remain forever.” said Devopriya winding up her observations. She added, “We all breathe the same life-giving oxygen, eat the same food that is produced by the soil and drink the same water to be alive and fully sustained. We are one family and the Asia Pacific Ministerial was all about celebrating this universal and irreversible fellowship.”

Devopriya and Fr. Robert visited the Jesuit house close by and spent a day with Fr. Beda Yassao S.J and students who came to participate in a leadership program.

Devopriya Dutta (in green)joined the college students on a leadership program hosted by Beda Yassao S.J at Xavier Hall close by.

Devopriya Dutta (in green)joined the college students on a leadership program hosted by Beda Yassao S.J (seated at the back) at Xavier Hall close by.                                                                                             

“We came back profoundly impressed by the way the hardworking people of Thailand are building up their country!” commented Fr. Robert when the group came back to the Tarumitra forest in Patna. ”  He added, “As an Asian country they are integrating development with ecology often successfully integrating the dual concerns so well.”

   Contributed by: Ila Raj, Tarumitra Intern, Nepal

Joining hands for a healthier planet

Patna 11-12 July: At a time farmers are leaving behind the traditional rice crops,  two hundred and fifty Tarumitra students from Delhi Public School, Don Bosco Academy, May Flower, S R Vidyapeeth,  Radiant International, Bishop Scotts, May Flower, MG Public, DAV (BSEB) A N College, St. Xavier’s College and Delhi University along with two students from Lehigh University, Pennsylvania USA congregated in Tarumitra Farm as participants in the annual Organic Rice transplantation Festival.

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An International consortium of students: Arushi Lal (Delhi University) Reem (St. Xavier’s College) Angie Rizzo (Lehigh University) Shashi Darshan (Tarumitra) Robert Smith (Lehigh) and Margaret Molomoo (Tarumitra) finalizing the Rice Transplantation festival.

The students  got into the wet slushy muddy field and actually planted rice seedlings excited about the rare chance they got in academic life.
The much-awaited monsoon rains added to the celebrative mood of the event.

Students, many of them for the first time, learned the art of planting rice using the time tested SRI way.

Students, many of them for the first time, learned the art of planting rice using the time tested SRI way.

The program started with a PowerPoint presentation on the preparations that preceded the rice plantation at the Tarumitra organic farm. It may be mentioned that hundreds of students worked hard to supply adequate organic manure for the rice cultivation.  The students also received helpful tips on the right way to plant rice seedlings according to the System of Rice Intensification(SRI) method in the field. After the presentation, the group made their way to the farm for rice transplantation.

Three rare varieties of paddy were sown this year namely, Bauna Mansuri, Kunjunju and Kakshan.  For the seventh consecutive year of cultivation, the students resorted again to the well appreciated SRI method for crop.

Noted classical singer Ranjana Jha hummed and sang songs right in the rice field,  dedicated to nature and Mother Earth so as to mark the auspicious beginning of the rice transplantation ceremony. All the students thereafter hurried around the  gooey farm and engaged totally into the rice transplantation work.

Noted classical singer, Ranjana Jha brought out a repertoire of traditional ropani  geet “transplantion songs” using a makeshift audio system in the rice field.   Amidst laughter, joy and celebrations, the students too joined Ranjana Jha and sang their heart out. The accompanying teachers and volunteers too walked into the mud to participate in the rice transplantation event.

Angie Rizzo from Lehigh  not only enjoyed the show but also enthused the students with her helpful support

Angie Rizzo from Lehigh not only enjoyed the show but also enthused the students with her helpful support

Veteran Organic Farmer trained in Japan, Ms Margaret Molomoo who supervised the entire organic farming said that it was time to make a break from the pesticide laden rice cultivation which is further enervated by the heavily expensive chemical fertilizers. “Poison is flowing out of our farms!” said Ms Molomoo. “If we don’t opt for healthy farms, who else would?” she further asked.

Tarumitra students got engaged into the Organic Farming primarily as a protest against the prevalent use of limitless poison on the Earth

Tarumitra students got engaged into the Organic Farming primarily as a protest against the prevalent use of limitless poison on the Earth

It may be mentioned that India resorted to Green Revolution in the sixties banking heavily on chemical fertilizers, ferocious pesticides and seeds from large corporations. It certainly made the country almost self sufficient, except that the deadly combinations of chemical fertilizers and pesticides poisoned the lands, its waters and rivers.

The State of Punjab in Western India who led the Green Revolution ended up in an uncontrollable  Cancer vortex.  Today a train “The Cancer Express” rolls out of Batinda in Punjab to a charitable cancer hospital in Bikaner in Rajasthan on a daily basis.

The high valued pricey Chemical fertilizers and deadly pesticides made the cultivation of staple foods  inordinately expensive. The result was that thousands of farmers committed suicides all over the country when there was a dry spell or a flash flood.  This has necessitated the government to indulge in large scale waiving of agricultural loans in billions.  

For six consecutive years Tarumitra students successfully completed the raising of the needed amount of rice and lentils.

For six consecutive years Tarumitra students successfully cultivated the needed amount of rice and lentils.

“Tarumitra got into Organic Farming seven years back to bring back health back to the dining table!” said the co-ordinator, Robert Athickal SJ.  “The students felt that they were purchasing diseases when they buy grains and fruits from the market.” added Fr. Robert

Being the founders of their green future, the students took deep interest in farming

Being the founders of their green future, the students took deep interest in farming

The concern for the poisoned sustenance food items kept coming back to the helpless students all these years. Tarumitra students felt that urgent action was the need of the hour. “We have successfully completed totally organic farming for rice and lentils last six years. The outcome has energized us to take upon more farming!” said Devopriya Dutta who co-ordinated the event today.

Robert Smith who is Tarumitra's representative at United Nations in New York joined the farming process!

Robert Smith who is Tarumitra’s representative at United Nations in New York joined the farming process!

Two American students from Lehigh University, Ms Angie Rizzo and Robert Smith also joined their counter parts in Patna for the entire cultivation work. Angie Rizzo was of the opinion that Organic farming was the right step to sustainable development. She said, “Students are the future of the planet and they should be sensitized about organic cultivation!” Robert Smith said that engaging oneself in farming such as paddy cultivation was being going closer to nature and it showed reverence to Mother Earth.

Devopriya Dutta (left) did her home work to pull in resources from all over to get the farm work to go regularly Devorpriya, Arushi, Marie D'Cruz, Akansha, Kalpana and Angie

Devopriya Dutta (left) did her home work to pull in resources from all over to get the farm work to go regularly
Devorpriya, Arushi, Marie D’Cruz, Akansha, Kalpana and Angie

Apart from students, teachers, interns, well-wishers and volunteers Shashi Darshan, D N Prasad, Arushi Lal, Neeraj , Gaurav along with Lalita and Sanju  were also present during this festive occasion.

 

Honduran Zamorano University Students promoted solidarity with Indian students

Patna. 30 April: Four students from the Honduran University of Zamorano just completed a four month long Internship at Tarumitra today. Hazel Guadalupe Valasco Palacios (El Salvador), Paulina Leticia Camacho Ruiz (Mexico), Andrea Lucrecia Gongora Fión (Guatemala) and Samuel Oblitas Vega (Bolivia) spent a fruitful time working with the Tarumitra teams across the whole country.

Paulina, Samuel, Hazel and Andrea in front of the Tajmahal

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