STUDENTS ESTABLISH A FARM ON COLLEGE CAMPUS
October 31, 2022
Sangay Dorji, the Coordinator of the GNH Club at College of Language and Culture Studies (CLCS), Takste attended the GNH Farmers Project in July 2022 and shared, “I learned so much through the farmers project training and wanted to take this back to my college so that we can become food sustainable”.
He says, “I saw my country go through so much during the pandemic - especially in the delivery of food and essential items. I realized that we can all do a little towards food security and we can start in my college.”
With this in his mind, he and 15 other club members from the college signed up for the GNH Farmers Project where they received a 10 day training session in various agricultural methods like horticulture and vegetables using advanced technologies conducted by GNHCB and the ARDC Wangduephodrang.
Mr. Sonam Chopel, Program Director, ARDC Wangduephodrang shared, “We are happy to see GNHCB organizing such initiatives which encourages youth to take up farming and also learn values of GNH and it's a good opportunity to collaborate in the future.”
GOING BEYOND A TRAINING
After completing the training, the 15 GNH Club members took up the task of setting up their mushroom cultivation in the college. They decided that mushroom cultivation would be easiest to start at their college, additionally mushrooms are not easily available in Trongsa and they were motivated to supply it as one of the vegetables to the college. This would improve the diet and nutrition of the students.
Lopen Tenzin Dorji, Associate Lecturer at CLCS, who is GNH Club Advisor said , “The philosophy of GNH has been put into action through the establishment of a mushroom shed at the college. Through this project, we hope to help students with entrepreneurial skills and to benefit them in the future. ”
The members rolled up their sleeves, repaired and converted the old college warehouse into a mushroom shed. They then began the hard process of preparing 30 bales of mushrooms which are expected to fruit by the mid of November, 2022. Moreover, they took it upon themselves to train and share their knowledge with other students. This would ensure the little mushroom farm would be cared for and maybe inspire others to take up small farm projects as well.
Another Club member, Rinchen, shared that, “This project has the potential to encourage students to take up farming as an alternate profession”.
The GNH Centre Bhutan will continue the training as it is gaining popularity with the youth who aspire to take farming as an occupation. To date the Centre has supported two trainings, and seen 27 number of youth sign up for the training and three number of individual farms have been set up or are in the process of establishing themselves. It is hoped that the CLCS College will be a success story and inspire other colleges to take up similar small farm initiatives.
IMPACT OF COVID PANDEMIC ON FOOD SECURITY
During the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns in Bhutan, Sangay says he saw how the country faced challenges in the food distribution process. Bhutan is dependent largely on India for its imports such as vegetables, meat, oil and so on. Agriculture in Bhutan is an important factor for socio-economic development and growth. However, there are challenges faced by the agriculture sector, which include water scarcity, sloppy landscape, human-wildlife conflicts and inadequate irrigation and poor infrastructural development. These challenges affect our country’s potential to increase food security.
ABOUT THE GNH CLUB at College of Language and Culture Studies (CLCS)
The GNH Club at College of Language and Culture Studies (CLCS), Taktse was introduced in 2017 and currently has 85 members.The GNH Clubs were created as a space of learning for young Bhutanese people. The clubs will manifest the core values of GNH and the Centre believes that there is a need for a transformation and positive change by youth for the youth and it can be done through our GNH Club activities.
ABOUT THE GNH FARMERS PROJECT
The GNH Farmer’s Project is a collaboration between the GNHCB, and the EcoGather Initiative, USA. The project aimed to engage and encourage youth to lead their own micro-business ideas; integrate entrepreneurship and education; 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. Through this Project, 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.
Click here to read more about the project.