December saw the wrap-up of the first season of Navdanya’s Seeds of Hope, Gardens of Hope programme in Dehradun. Over the past four months, the interns at Bija Vidyapeeth have had the pleasure of working with a dynamic groups of students from Dehradun and are overwhelmed by the successes of the school gardens established at GPS Sherpur, Ann Marys’ School and Hilton School.
On December 10th, 2010, the Seeds of Hope, Gardens of Hope programme hosted the Harvest of Hope Festival at Bija Vidyapeeth. The festival, which sought to celebrate both the efforts and harvest of the students’ school gardens, was attended by forty five students, ages seven to seventeen.
Our celebration commenced with an interactive farm tour of Bija Vidyapeeth, during which students explored the journey of our food from seed to spoon. Here, students were given the opportunity to learn how inputs such as cow manure, water, grasses and soil are used (and sometimes re-used) within Bija Vidyapeeth’s organic production system. From this, students were able to see how each component of our food system (from the soil to humans) is dependent upon the health of the farm as a whole.
This activity was followed by a discussion of the students’ experience as gardeners, a display of their garden produce, and an organic lunch sourced from the fields of Bija Vidyapeeth. Our day culminated with visual art and songs inspired by the concept of biodiversity and seed saving. As a component of this activity, participant students assisted to provide illustrations for an upcoming student version of Dr. Vandana Shiva’s book ‘Biopiracy’ that Navdanya interns are working to create.
Currently, the Seeds of Hope, Gardens of Hope is preparing for the 2011 academic and gardening season. As students are taking their winter break from school, we are working to evaluate the successes and progress made over the past four months with the intention of creating an even more dynamic programme. Accordingly, for those interns who will soon be completing their internships with Navdanya, we will be working to pass on the knowledge and resources learned to future interns. With this we hope that the message of the Seeds of Hope, Gardens of Hope programme will be brought to even more schools and that students across Dehradun will be inspired by the message and work of Navdanya.
Burari Garden of Hope on its way to becoming a Farm of Hope
In December 2010, in an empty plot within their residential colony, under the aegis of Jan Jyoti NGO and study centre, the children of Burari, a village close to Delhi, planted their Garden of Hope an initiative being spearheaded by Navdanya. The initiative has become a story of hope for us in Navdanya as the diligence of children came to fruition and the garden is blossoming with its first crop. The children having eaten the fresh organic food along with their educators were so impressed that now they have convinced the community to give 1 acre of land to grow organic vegetables. Thus the Garden of Hope is now on its way to become the Farm of Hope. We congratulate the village for its enthusiastic move and hope many more will be inspired by it.