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The school farm curriculum

The school farm initiative is one of the new strategic plans of YPARD and FAO for the Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) region, the project’s framework will make use of a curriculum concept, to promote training sessions based on an integrated production system. 

It aims to combine scientific concepts and social capital to set up a socio-economic framework. Its dynamic will focus on satisfying the self-consumption needs of rural and urban communities, especially among marginalized populations, despite the failure to compete in a capitalist market system.

The world today is in need of food and clean energy, and that is precisely what we will promote in this program. Its overall aspect will focus on developing a wide range of topics and skills to transform current production systems, driving change towards more sustainable practices. 

Such an initiative will help the students to gain in-depth knowledge, as well as, achieve high levels of efficiency and integration through decent use of basic technology to bring specific innovations within the agricultural sector. This, in turn, will help in reducing improper and inappropriate use of some of the natural resources, which currently is in a state of exhaustion.

According to FAO studies, the monoculture system is recognized as one of the main causes of ecosystem deterioration. Its practices cause major damage to resources, which lead to problems such as loss of biodiversity, soil degradation, alteration of the hydrological cycle, landscape deterioration, etc. 

Consequently, these factors are the major causes of on-farm productivity, which affects families’ welfare. This also leads to greater economic risks, vulnerability and unnecessary dependence, thus, contributing to rural exodus, and overpopulation in cities.

This multidimensional and complex issue requires awareness in order to drive change towards rational and sustainable agriculture practices and avoid irreversible damages to the environment. Thus, it is important to strengthen the capacities of the actors, farmers, stakeholders, and youth, in the response of these challenges.

If we know that today's world is in need of food and clean energy, then we must adopt a culture of productivity, based on efficient, profitable and competitive production. Therefore, the learning environment in the school farm will focus on three main dynamics, which are; Reuse, Reduce and Recycle, while trying to change behavioural patterns using a straightforward message. 

The program will seek to develop a farm-self-sufficient system that can adapt a wide range of diversity of production units in a medium area, where the students will learn different agroecology context on specific topics such as aquaculture, livestock, crop management, social issue, land management, and waste management. 

In its entirety, it will provide basic knowledge about:

  1. Food security: Promoting food production in sufficient quantity and quality. 
  2. Health: Maximizing the nutritional value of food. 
  3. Sustainable production: Developing a production system that integrates agricultural, livestock, forestry and energy components. 
  4. Community organization: Promoting community participation in sustainable development processes. 
  5. Integrated management of resources: Promoting effective use of resources usable by the productive activities of the farm. 
  6. Protection of the environment: Production without causing a negative impact on local natural resources. 
  7. Formation of micro-enterprises: Promoting the creation of business initiatives towards youth and women empowerment.

The project is open to everyone, Feel free to express your interest in contributing; you can reach me at wendel.georges@fao.org for any further information and updates. We highly encourage your participation.

Photo credit: EARTH University