Thiruvananthapuram: The students of St. John’s Model Higher Secondary School at Nalanchira in Thiruvananthapuram district have scored well on a different plank as they virtually sweated it out to contribute handsomely to the Chief Minister’s Distress Relief Fund. The pupils gave Rs 2.5 lakh to the relief fund, after floods wreaked havoc in Kerala last year, from the revenue generated by cultivating vegetables on 1.5 acres of land in the school compound. This year too they gave their lending hand to the flood victims.
The students took up vegetable farming two years ago in their school yard under Malayala Manorama’s ‘Nalla Padam’ project. The first task was to clear the land of weeds and unwanted vegetation and make it conducive for cultivation. The students were ably guided by headmaster Wilson George, recipient of the state government’s best teacher farmer award in 2016, and Principal Fr. Jose Charuvil.
Around 500 little farmers are part of this organic cultivation. The joy the students get from tilling the land, sowing the seeds and harvesting the produce is unparallel and this is a learning experience for them, the teachers say. Only organic fertilizers, including cow dung and cow’s urine, are used for farming.
Veggies for midday meal scheme
The vegetables required for preparing midday meals are sourced from the school garden for the past two years. Veggies including brinjal, snake gourd, tomato, lady’s finger, spinach and chilli are cultivated on the school premises, and plans are anvil to add more vegetables to the list.
Wilson George, who has also got the Education Award for the best Gandhian coordinator and the 2018 Transforming Education Award of the Punjab University, is now striving to make the school campus a plastic-free zone. Teachers Jojimon K Thomas, Kurian Varghese, Jaisamma Samuel, Kingsely Das and Shylaja are part of this endeavour.