Thiruvalla: Volunteers of the NSS unit at Marthoma College here are on a mission to take the message of organic farming to the people. They have distributed vegetable seeds and planted 1,000 curry leaf saplings on the premises of houses in the nearby areas.
While the saplings were supplied free of cost by the Forest Department as part of its social forestry programme, the seeds were produced by the students, who have been engaged in a profitable organic farming venture on the campus.
The NSS volunteers had taken on lease a one-acre disused plot adjacent to their college campus six months ago and launched their organic farming venture. Learning the first lessons of sustainable farming from there, the students had become experts in the field by the time they passed on the knowledge to the local people.
The 140 NSS volunteers have been getting a good yield of long beans, bitter gourd, snake gourd, lady’s finger and brinjal since three months ago. A good portion of the harvest was taken to their houses by the young farmers, as ‘wages’ for their efforts. The remaining vegetables were bought by the faculty as well as other students. Even then, some more produce was left, which was sold to the local people. The total sales amounted to around Rs 30,000. During the harvest, the seeds for distribution among the villagers were also collected, said NSS programme officer Manesh Jacob.
Each NSS volunteer visited four houses, distributed seeds and planted curry leaf saplings. A booklet on organic farming brought out by the Agriculture Department was also handed over to the local people.