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Rita Marley Foundation conducts organic farming training programmes for students

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

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The Rita Marley Foundation recently conducted organic farming training programmes for high school and kindergarten students in an effort to help youths value the importance of organic agriculture and its tremendous benefits to humankind.

A news release from the foundation said that a total of 105 students at Bustamante High School in Clarendon received instruction on the characteristics and practices of organic farming from US-based agricultural consultant Steven Herbert.

Theoretical and practical sessions convened three times daily.

“As opposed to conventional farming, which relies heavily on chemicals for fertilisation, pest and weed control, organic farming works in unison with nature. Chemical treatments are replaced with natural methods. Emphasis is on building soil, boosting its organic content and thus encouraging proliferation of soil biology,” the foundation stated in its release.

During practical sessions at the school's farm, students were taught how to build a compost pile. They were also instructed in the art of doubling digging. The former is a mixture of decayed or decaying plant organic matter used to fertilise soil. The latter is “a gardening technique where one digs one shovel depth, places soil to one side, loosens soil to another spade's depth, inserts compost and thoroughly mixes soil with compost” the foundation explained.

This method encourages plants' roots to grow very deep, enabling them to access more mineral nutrition and water. It also encourages the microbiologic community to grow deeper around the roots.

Students were also taught the art of dowsing, a method of locating water on a farm with equipment called L-rods. Dowsing also assists with gaining information about nutrient levels, necessary fertilisers and amendments.

At the close of the programme, trainees learned how to transform conventionally farmed farmland into organic farms.

The foundation said it donated dowsing tools, L-rods and organic seeds to the schools, whose officials expressed gratitude for contribution and support.

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