In an earlier blog I told about how we went into a community visiting some of the home gardens owners with whom we have worked with in the past 3 years. We gave them some plants and seeds. The action was great – the community felt our support, we demonstrated a good spirit and the importance of togetherness, and we were able to prepare the farmers for the coming growing season.
During this action we realized how many questions the farmers had. The farmers are used to chemically based practices and the new growers as well were still not sure how to grow food completely organic. They needed our support, and we should find ways to reach them.
From there came the idea to create a WhatsApp’s group where we invited the garden owners to join. In the group we will answer all their questions, we will put content materials like posters, instructive YouTube videos and specific ones made by us. To make sure that the group is active we need to give useful information, but we should also be careful not to overflow them.
We started by answering the questions, which they asked us during the plant handing. Some of the questions were: How to harvest kale, How to sow carrot seeds, How to prepare the beds for the next season etc.
So we made some short videos in our garden showing how to harvest kale and pack choy correctly. The respond to the videos was very nice. The people were saying thank you. They were also excited to see our garden.
We added a short text to the videos:
“Wednesday we brought the same seeds and seedlings to everyone who was home. We saw a lot of beautiful gardens. We noticed that some of the plants we brought were not familiar to you.
So we wanted to show you how to take care of them. The first thing is how to take care of Kale.
To harvest, as you can see in the video, just cut the leaves from the bottom to the top. Leave about 7 leaves so the Kale continues to grow. Cut off old, dry or brown leaves; the plant wastes energy keeping them and since they are weaker pests attack them easier.
While growing, the plant takes in nutrients from the soil. When you break up the leaves in pieces and put them back on the bed they will decompose and give back the nutrients to the soil.
If you have leaves that are full of pest cut them off and throw them far away outside of your garden. You don't want them in your beds”.
Not too many questions and comments came after these first videos, but it is quite normal being a new group and people holding back because they are shy. We hope that with time and better videos we will be able to engage the farmers more.
The action is great for us as teachers and the students as well. We are showing that development can be done in many different ways.