While most of us, when confined to our homes during the pandemic, found new hobbies to pass our time, this school director used her hobby for the good of people.
Suseela Santhosh, director of Vishwa Vidyapeeth School in Bengaluru, looked at the empty school with no kids as an opportunity to turn it into a green oasis by setting up an organic farm.
“We had a small setup of an organic farm in the school, which we decided to expand. That way the non-teaching staff would be occupied and we would have developed a bountiful farm. Some of them were familiar with farming and others put in the effort to learn.” says Suseela.
The farm spreads across the campus and occupies the kitchen, terrace, backyard and empty spaces between the buildings of the school. Additionally, they also set up compost pits to turn the dead leaves into manure.
“We used the harvested rainwater and the greywater from the kitchen for farming. A water channel inside the campus was used to grow over 200 banana plants,” she adds.
Before the reopening of the school, the produce was cooked and distributed among themselves.
“Eventually, the word spread and we started getting requests to supply food for COVID patients in isolation. So we started distributing it to them at nominal charges,” she says.
“This is now part of our curriculum. We are involving all our students in farming activities so they also develop a kind of responsibility and aspire to be self-sufficient,” says Suseela.
Presently, the farm produces around 35–40 kg produce per month, which is cooked and distributed among the 1,400 students and the school staff for free.