Greening Endeavour through young buds!
The students embarked on farming when their school became a venue of “Mukulam”, an ambitious programme of CARD-Krishi Vigyan Kendra for promotion of biodiversity conservation and food security concern among school children of Upper Primary and High schools and Higher Secondary Schools in Pathanamthitta district. Mukulam is an educational strategy that utilizes school gardens to supplement instruction in a variety of disciplines. Mukulam provide an atmosphere that includes hands-on activities and strengthens academic, personal, and social skills.
The Mukulam programme was launched in the year 2010 with an aim to provide a platform for school students for showcasing their talents in nurturing the nature and making aware of their role in contributing to nations food security. Schools at Upper primary, high school and higher Secondary level having eco-clubs functioning for last two years with 25-30 members and having 5-10 cents of cultivable land formed the part of the programme. The best school is awarded with a cash price of Rs. 5000/- and Joseph Mar Thoma Ever Rolling Green Trophy (to commemorate the 80th birth anniversary of His Grace, Most Rev. Dr Joseph Mar Thoma Metropolitan of Mar Thoma Syrian church of Malabar.) and citation.
KVK organised variety of programme such as seminars, students meet, quiz competition , drawing cum painting competitions and traditional Food fest. KVK also supported the participating schools with technology trainings, planting materials, seeds, inputs and garden tools. , where in school club was to put forth their effort in developing garden in 5 cents of land.
In this five year journey with school children through Mukulam, CARD-KVK could instill a culture of safe farming among more than 10,000 families through 1500 school children of 46 schools, who participated in the Mukualm programme. The schools eco club demonstrated their commitment towards the cause by working in the school garden even on holidays. Besides participating in every activity of MUKULAM, the schools garden had variety of vegetables, fruit crops and medicinal garden grown organically. Club members in relay maintained the garden and attended watering and garden operations on a scheduled manner before and after school hours. According to Dr Sindhu Sadanandan ,SMS (Agril. Extension) & nodal officer of the programme at KVK “The programme could instill in the younger generation their responsibility to conserve nature and contribute to the food security of the nation and could generate a positive spirit among the young budding minds.” While evaluating the Mukulam programme, the impact of other initiatives like “Nalla Padam” of Malayala Manorama and “seed” of Mathrubhumi who have spread their roots in schools with a similar motive of strengthening the students to ensure environment friendly growth and development are also taken into consideration.
The participating schools on an average harvested over 500 kg of vegetables, part of which was shared for school mid-day meal purpose. Besides this the clubs also earned Rs 10000/ from the sales of vegetables each year contributing to a turnover of Rs. 4,60,000 in these five years, which added colour to the programme through “earn while learning”. Seeing the success of the programee, KVK introduced Eco-safe sustainable vegetable production through Ultra Density Portable Rain Shelter in the schools through Mukulam 2014.Portable Rain Shelter with Drip Irrigation System for ultra Density Vegetable Cultivation in the school proved to be unique one for producing safe vegetables from a limited area round the year in a hassle free manner. The programme was unique of its kind and inspired the children to understand need of growing vegetables in an eco-friendly manner, to have healthy food and self sustainability in agricultural production, we would continue to strive on our contribution of bio-diversity conservation and food security of our nation to the extend whatever little we could contribute. The programme is one of its kind organised by KVK, which is unique in its nature with focus on school children to enable them acquire skill and knowledge in agriculture there by growing to a responsible citizen of India