A Pongal harvest in heart of city

By TheHindu on 29 Mar 2017 | read

Harvesting paddy next to the bustling and busy Mount Road?

That is exactly what was done a week back on the campus of the Sacred Heart Matriculation Higher Secondary School, Church Park.

As an initiative of the Green Club of the school, student members and faculty from the school, who have been involved in planting vegetables, maintaining a herb garden and planting saplings as well as maintaining the existing flora on campus, undertook a novel initiative to plant paddy in August 2016.

“In a small patch of land of about 400 sq. ft., we sowed paddy and the student members of the club, assisted by gardeners from the school, helped cultivate it. We have harvested nearly 30 kg of rice which will be used to prepare Pongal on Friday, as part of the festival celebrations on the campus and distributed here,” said Manjula Sampath, co-ordinator of the Green Club. “This was undertaken as an initiative to highlight the importance of farming to the students and the need to be aware of the process involved and be more environmentally conscious,” Ms. Sampath added.

Students, faculty members and the principal Sr. Prabha, who had encouraged the project, participated and helped harvest the paddy last week on the school campus.

“It was a great feeling to watch and harvest something we had cultivated and looked after. Some of the crop had also been affected during the Cyclone Vardah and this really gave us an insight into the troubles farmers go through and we worked on this project almost as a tribute to our farmers,” said S. Kathiyayini, a class XI student and member of the Green Club. The whole farming process was done completely organically. No chemical fertilizers or insecticides were used. The manure for the crop came from the vermicompost pits maintained on the campus.

Akshatha Das, another student, said the whole process of cultivating paddy had also made them realise how much food was generally being wasted. “Maintaining water for this also made us realise how important the resource is for a larger chunk of the population outside urban areas,” said K. Senthamarai, a class XI student.