NEN understands that the urban poor is especially susceptible to growing food insecurity due to their overwhelming dependence on the market and their own purchasing power. In an attempt to lower this dependence in Shillong, we took the occasion of World Food Day to begin a movement that will equip our youth grow their own food despite the lack of fields on the City.
We were supported in our endeavour by the Seng Kynthei (Woman’s Group) and the Dorbar Shnong of Madankriting. It was facilitated by Society for Promotion of Rural Economy & Agricultural Development , North East (SPREAD NE), an organization that firmly works on the principle of local people eating local food from the local resources thus converting the bio-wealth into bio-economy.
Students of the Madan Hindi Pathshala enthusiastically participated in the day long programme that taught them small scale farming of local food and traditional knowledge for kitchen gardens.
The programme stressed on the importance of learning about growing your own food and practical skills on gardening, making organic pesticides and fertilizers. Taking a keen interest in further developing their gardening skills, the women of the Seng Kynthei have requested for an intensive training on this. They have now taken it upon themselves to initiate a livelihood programme focusing on growing indigenous crops and making organic fertilizers and manure that can be sold in the local market.
Upon further discussion, Samir Bordoloi of SPREAD NEN has agreed to train them over a period of time. Collectively they (Seng Kynthei and Samir) have decided to conduct a 3 days’ intensive workshop on the same in the near future. The next phase of the workshop would focus on training the small and marginal farmers to develop their homestead gardens into organic nutritious gardens with local nutraceutical plants, herbs, fruits and vegetables, ensuring food security and sustainable livelihood development by marketing the surplus.
Through our day long workshop with women and children in Shillong, NEN has created a foundation for furthering its initiatives towards sustainable natural resource management. We will continue to work with these groups who have now developed an interest in in matters of food security, organic farming and even agriculture as a vocation.