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Kids learn about organic farming


NATURE’S GIFT: Some 20 children from Vision Home Orphanage got to know more about the importance of earthworms at a workshop conducted by CAP

 IPOH : ABOUT 20 children at the Vision Home Orphanage attended an organic farming workshop conducted by members of the Consumers' Association of Penang (CAP), here recently.

They got their hands dirty planting herbs and vegetables to get a better understanding of how organic vegetables are grown on a plot of land behind the orphanage.

They were also taught why earthworms have an important role in organic farming.

In the beginning, the children aged between 3 and 16 years were squeamish about touching earthworms but quickly got over their fears.

Besides their encounter with hundreds of red worms and insects which were useful to organic farming, the children also learned how to recycle kitchen waste such as vegetable and fruit peels into nutrients for the plants through the seven-pot composting system and the ring garden technique.

Zaleha, 16, and Siana Adol, 15, said this was the first time they had touched worms.

"Although, we were reluctant in the beginning, once we realised how important earthworms are, we soon got over our squeamishness and had lots of fun planting," said the sisters, who were eager to share their knowledge with their friends in school.

Roslin Duny, 14, said she had fun learning how to make compost from household waste but was still not keen to handle the wriggling earthworms.

Meanwhile, for Jasniza Jali, 14, said the experience had spur her interest in gardening. She said the steps were simple and easy to remember.

The workshop was conducted by CAP senior education officer N.V. Subbarow and he was assisted by its education officer O. Saraswathi Dewi.

Subbarow said CAP is on a mission to create awareness of the wonders of organic farming and the importance of recycling among children and adults alike.

"We want to encourage more families to move away from capital-intensive and chemical-based methods to low-cost, non-chemical and sustainable agriculture.

"Beside agriculture, we also advise everyone to use their kitchen waste for making organic compost or fertilisers," he said, adding that CAP is also teaching housewives and farmers to start and manage their own vegetable and herb garden or corner.

Subbarow said schools were encouraged to approach CAP for help to set up small organic farms.

For details, call CAP at 04-829 9511.

CAP senior education officer N.V. Subbarow (left) showing the children how to plant a tree at the workshop. Pic by Supian Ahmad

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