The Learning Farm

The Learning Farm goal is to empower vulnerable youth across Indonesia to become independent, contributing, and responsible members of community. Mission: Establishing a safe, nurturing and productive learning environment Instilling essential life skills and core values through the learning medium of organic farming Developing environmental responsibility Creating a sustainable network of alumni who are actively engaged with the community Ensuring continuous staff development Maintaining accountability to all stakeholders
Jun 23, 2015

Spreading Knowledge to Halmahera

Merlin
Merlin

Merlin, 22, is a hungry man- not for food, but for knowledge. To him, learning never ends at The Learning Farm (TLF) and he wants to learn from everyone, from the staff to his juniors in the basic farming course.

Hailing from Halmahera, Merlin had spent nine months at TLF, completing his basic farming course, and is now in the advanced course. He now has the opportunity to teach and guide his new batch of juniors in the basic course, since in TLF, students in the advanced course, instead of instructors, teach the basic students.

Now a mentor to the new students, Merlin doesn’t feel superior to them and remains humble. “We all come here for the same thing; to learn. I also learn from them,” he said.

Despite having already spent seven months with his batch mates, he finds something new to learn from them every time, and wants to continue to interact with and learn from them. “But it goes the other way around also, they would want to learn from me too,” Merlin said for them.

Since coming to TLF, he has developed more patience and discipline, especially in waking up early as the students at the farm have to start their day at 5am. “Hopefully I can continue this when I go back,” he said. Most importantly, he has also cut down on his smoking habits. To discourage students from smoking, it is prohibited in many parts of the farm.

TLF gathers youth from all over Indonesia, and Merlin likes interacting with people from the places he has never been to. He enjoys the strong camaraderie formed with his batch mates, who are of similar ages as him, and have come here with the same purpose.

Organic farming is little known back in his village, and Merlin wants to be the first person to practice organic farming there after he graduates from TLF. “I want to expand what I have learnt and not let it go to waste,” he said.

With other advanced students testing soil pH
With other advanced students testing soil pH
Cultivating the new farm
Cultivating the new farm

Links:

Apr 24, 2015

The Other Way to Make Compost

Learning vermicomposting
Learning vermicomposting

The Learning Farm is striving to improve the quality of our program. In the long run we’d like to implement a fully-integrated farming system. We want the students to understand that the technique we are teaching them is not the only form of organic farming. Recently we have introduced another way of making compost which is called vermicomposting.

Vermicomposting uses worms and microorganisms to convert organic materials to a valuable soil amendment and source of plant nutrients. Vermicompost improves the soil structure, stabilizes soil pH, increases moisture infiltration in soils, and improves its moisture holding capacity. It differs from traditional composting as it doesn't require a lot of space and less work as you don't have to turn the pile in the process. Vermicompost also makes the plant grows faster, the leaves grow bigger, and decreases attacks from the pests.

Out of few species of earthworms that can be used for vermicomposting, we are using Lumbricus rubellus. The students are working at the “worms farm” every Monday to add the manure or to harvest the compost.

Harvesting the compost
Harvesting the compost
The vermicomposting boxes
The vermicomposting boxes

Links:

Feb 4, 2015

Knowing Ourselves is the Key to Make Improvements

Pondering about the past
Pondering about the past

Developing ourselves should start by knowing who we are. For this purpose, and to develop our students, TLF supported by Bapak Eddy Shambada held a session on Self Journey which was divided in two sessions
and assisted by Bapak Ncip. Pak Eddy Shambada is the founder of Plus One Consultant and a certified trainer by The Asia Work.

The first Self Discovery session helps students realize who they are, what they have been through to get them this far. They share each other’s good and bad experience and start to forgive people who havehurt them and most importantly to forgive themselves.

During Self Introspection, students are encouraged to conquer their fear. They are guided to make and then declare their commitment  toward a better life.

It has been the second year now that Pak Eddy has so kindly and consistently supported TLF. These two sessions have been very helpful to make our students focus on the positive, get help to overcome the negative and to help give them the motivation they need to pursue their dreams. 

Thank you Pak Eddy for these wonderfully enlightening sessions!

Group sharing
Group sharing
Conquering the fear
Conquering the fear
Making commitment to change
Making commitment to change

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