The rural areas of Tamil Nadu are home to some of the poorest Indian communities with few employment opportunities. We're teaching children and young people to embrace the organic, eco-friendly way of farming that uses seed banking, natural fertilizers and pesticides, multi-cropping, and drip irrigation to produce more abundant, more nutritious harvests. Lower costs and higher yields make farming an attractive occupation. Save the family farm, save the planet.
India's traditional agricultural practices are no longer sustainable. Toxic pesticides pollute the air and water. Mono-cropping and chemical fertilizers degrade the soil, making it less climate-resilient. Although genetically modified seeds can increase crop yield, these gains are not enough to make up for harvests destroyed by the severe droughts and monsoons that result. And the soaring costs of chemical pesticides and fertilizers and GM seeds eat into farmer's profits.
Sustainable organic agricultural techniques can give farmers a better income, make their farms more climate-resilient, and reduce reliance on fossil-fuel-based chemicals that are polluting in our air, water and soil . We have converted thousands of young people to this profitable, healthy, and earth-friendly approach to farming. Now we have added classes for younger children, to inspire the next generation to preserve the family farm with sustainable agriculture when they grow up.
Traditionally, children are kept home from school to do farm chores. Sustainable techniques like drip irrigation and multi-cropping require less work, while the biodiversity of non-GMO seeds extends the harvest over a longer period. The sustainable farm produces enough income to pay school fees while making child labor less critical for the farm's survival. Improved education combined with a knowledge of sustainable farming will help a new generation create thriving agribusinesses.