The Living Farms team, who are on a five-day exposure to Meghalaya, visited Nongtraw community, East Khasi Hills on October 15, 2019. Farmers from Pashang and Umsawwar (Mawkynrew Area) also took part in this field visit.
The team visited several shifting cultivation fields and the school garden in Nongtraw. There was also a discussion on the good governance practices by the participating communities: Nongtraw, Pashang, Umsawwar and also from Living Farms.
At the Jhum field, Richard Ranee, a PGS member, gave a brief explanation on the traditional farming system i.e. shifting cultivation. He said that Nongtraw farmers are still maintaining their own local seeds and no external inputs being applied in the field. Interestingly, farmers from Orissa too shared the same concept. The only difference is the number of cycle. In Nongtraw, farmers shift once a year whereas in Orissa, farmers practice shifting cultivation for a period of three years within the same plot of land. This kind of practice has helped them to increase the cycle for the purpose of soil fertility.
While at the school garden, Richard Ranee briefly explained about the need of parent’s involvement the success of the school garden programme. Through this initiative, over the past years even till today the Nongtraw school is able to provide children with fresh and green vegetables which is lacking in the mid-day meal diet. “To make young people become interested into their own local food systems , training them from school should be the main focus,” Ranee said.
The Living Farms team learned main learning is the hygiene of the villages and they said they will implement the same in their state at the end of the exposure trip.