EDUCATED GNH FARMERS
Youth learn GNH values through farming activities.
A total of 11 young farmers registered for the first phase of the two year GNH Farmers Project. They will be receiving various training sessions on mushroom cultivation in Nasiphel, Bumthang. They are graduates from various colleges and eager to have hands-on experience.
During the first week, Mr. Yeshi Lhendup from the National Mushroom Centre facilitated theoretical and practical sessions on the process of oyster mushroom cultivation using straw. Various processes such as soaking, draining and steaming straw, hygienic treatment- inoculation and packing were imparted to the young farmers. He also explained the preparation process of fruiting and harvesting of oyster mushrooms, various pests and diseases that can impact mushroom farming.
Part of the project also imbibes GNH in Action, where they apply the 9 domains through basic mindfulness practices, community based living and responsibilities, volunteer activities and through weekly rotational chores at the centre. These are also facilitated with learning sessions on GNH and group work activities.
Chenga Om, who has a Diploma in Agriculture from the College of Natural Resources, shares that “I am confident that I can now start cultivation of oyster mushrooms. If I were to compare mushroom farming with other types of farming, I feel that mushroom farming is one of the best. It does not require hard labor and grows throughout the year as long as the temperature is maintained. It is a nutritional food and does not require a large scale of land”
The GNHCB President, Her Royal Highness Gyalsem Kesang Chodren Wangchuck met with some farmers and stressed how agriculture is an important part of Bhutanese life and the role of young people is crucial in the sector. Lessons from the pandemic demonstrated how crucial it is for Bhutan to be food sufficient and Her Highness encouraged the youth to embrace this learning opportunity.
The Centre aspires to build young GNH leaders through farming activities, promote healthy bodies and minds and lastly to create, develop and nurture healthy relationships with local communities. The project aims to engage and encourage youth to promote local initiatives and build a stronger community. It will also focus on merging GNH and leadership aspects to make youths recognize and realize their potential in bringing about change through farming. This is an effort to truly embody GNH in Action.
About the Project
The project is in partnership with Sterling College, USA under the EcoGather Initiative. The project comes at an opportune time when Bhutan is promoting youth engagement in agricultural activities – as a viable business module for livelihood opportunities. The two-year project will focus on combining GNH leadership and ecological farming initiatives. The GNHCB is one of five partners under the Ecogather Initiative. The Ecogather initiative is a collaborative and transformative learning network dedicated to the vitality of ecosystems, communities, and economies. Under the EcoGather initiative, the GNHCB will be starting an oyster mushroom farm based in Bumthang as the first phase of the project.