The Aventura dos Sabores (Adventures of Flavors) continued in the months of October and November with great success and excitement at the school. After the missions phase of the project, in which the students researched the origins of their food and took visits to SINAL, they were able to apply the lessons in the "laboratory" and build the school's first garden. With the help of the SINAL team, the space behind the school was recuperated and the students spent a day transplanting the seedlings that they had planted at SINAL the month before. The math class was the lucky group to inaugurate the garden, so the math teacher had the students use the opportunity to measure and quantify the different amount of space needed between different types of plants (broccoli, collard greens, etc.) The class is now working to invent a practical irrigation system that will alleviate the burden of having to water the garden on a daily basis.
In November, the last phase, the "celebration" occurred with a fun, healthy picnic where the kids learned to make a no-bake, all natural cake using almond sprouts and apples. The kids loved experimenting with the fresh fruits and discovering that healthy food can be delicious, too. SINAL brought a natural food activist that taught the kids the recipes and engaged them in a dialogue on freeing themselves from the processed food industry and reconnecting with local products. The following week, the students were able to showcase all they had learned at the year-end "Integral Fair" where students brough their own healthy foods and local recipes - such as banana peel cake, green juices, and jack fruit lasagna. It was wonderful to see the students becoming the teachers, as the Aventura dos Sabores students showed their peers the delicious but healthy and local recipes they had learned.
The teachers involved in the project told the SINAL team that the Aventura dos Sabores reinvigorated and inspired them and their classes, giving them the energy and support they needed. The project will most likely be replicated in 2016 with other classes!
In the months of August and September, SINAL has been developing a project on local food with the students of the neighboring Santo Antonio school - the initiative is called "Aventure of Tastes" (Aventura dos Sabores). The goal of the project is to create a replicable model for school interventions focused on teaching nutrition and empowering kids to value local, sustainable and healthy food. The project consists of the students completing several interactive and experimential "missions," participating in a laboratory where they will apply their learnings from the missions, and finally celebrating their experiences with a local food festival. The project has been a co-creation between the SINAL team, the students and teachers of the school, and the Brazilian organization Novos Urbanos.
The first mission for the students was to visit the markets and grocery stores in the town of Santo Antonio to interview the store owners about where their food comes from. Students took photos, videos, and wrote about their experiences using social media. Their second mission was to come to SINAL for a treasure hunt to learn about what can be grown locally in their town. It was a day of exploration for the kids to see what it looks like to produce healthy, organic fruits and vegetables. The students learned about the gardens, the worm compost, and the dry bathroom. They planted seeds in the plant nursery, sang songs about the forest, and matched seeds with their proper leaves and flowers. One SINAL volunteer recalls how excited the kids were to be able to explore the SINAL grounds, playing in the fresh air, surrouded by the lush forest and gardens, which is so different from their small classrooms.
After the first stage of missions is finished, the SINAL team will work with the students to build a garden and compost in the school, as well as create recipes for the school lunches to use locally grown food. It has been an exciting past month and we are looking forward to continuing to work with the students and teachers, who have all been very enthusiastic and engaged through the process.
Mata Atlantica is one of the most biodiverse forests in the world. Located along the cost of Brasil it is also one of the most endangered forests due to the strong urbanization, 70% of the people live in that area. Only 12% per cent of Mata Atlantica exists. Lovers of nature are responsible for the many campaigns and projects to rescue Mata Atlantica. One of the examples is Sinal do Vale, a 250 hectare farm located 50 km out of Rio. There volunteers from all over the world and children from the local neighborhood join several initiatives connected to preserve the richness of Mata Atlantica through medicinal plants and special trees that should not dye. At the World Environmental Day, a big action was done with the local school by engaging children. The trees of Mata Atlantica have been painted in a Mural creating a new are of recreation at the school.
The initiative was put together by Sinal Volunteers directed by the painter Hernan Almiron and supported by the Canisius College students that spent a week at Sinal as part of a learning journey on Resilent Communities.
The experience was very positive and should motivate more gathering of this type to express the love and the commitment for nature!
Healthy soils are critical for global food production, but we are not paying enough attention to this important "silent ally," FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva said..
Healthy soils not only are the foundation for food, fuel, fibre and medical products, but also are essential to our ecosystems, playing a key role in the carbon cycle, storing and filtering water, and improving resilience to floods and droughts, he noted.
The UN has declared 2015 the International Year of Soils. At SINAL, a 500 acres acres farm we are inspiring the children of Santo Antonio Community, a ten thousand community outside of Rio, the love for soil. Doing compost, taking care of degraded land through several types of restoration, which called the attention of big environmental organizations that have joined the Bonn Challenge, www.thebonnchallenge.org. Restoring 150 million hectares by 2020 could sequester approximately 53 Gt CO2 e over the course of 50 years as well as injecting more than US$80 billion per year into local and national economies.
At SINAL we will be concentrating our work in 2015 in restoring the soil and doing this work with Children which will be the ones that will have to undertake this task in the years to come.
We hope you will join us in this endeavour! We need your help to cover the costs of an structures with instructors that can allow children to be with us.
Restoration of forests and soils. An idea which time has come! Each one of us has to contribute!
On September 23, the Spring Equinox, students and teachers from local schools came to Sinal to celebrate not only the first day of spring but also a new cycle of growth for Sinal das Criancas. We our new reforestation project, in which the young students will be part of the replanting of native Atlantic Forest trees-- species that have been identified as endangered by recent Brazilian legislation. They will help collect seeds, work in the nursery, and replant the saplings as they learn about the importance of conservation in their local lands. The project will begin with reforesting one of Sinal's nature trails, and the children will help in marking the endangered species we are protecting along the walking path.
In addition, our program focuses on empowering local youth to become protagonists in the social and environmental issues of the community of Santo Antonio. During the children's visit on the Spring Equinox, they were given an orientation of Sinal's property through a lesson on the cyclical pattern of nature and how we as humans can respect instead of destroy this cycle. They visited the dry toilet, the compost piles, and the natural bamboo treatment station, seeing how human waste can be transformed into nutrients for the plants we need. The kids are also learning about the connection between local plants and agriculture with the traditional foods and festivals of their community. Using music and theatre, we are teaching the importance of respect between man and nature, as well as the personal value each one has in preserving the environment.
Map of endangered trees on our reforestation trail
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