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Safe farming at Santa Maria RC

At Santa Maria RC School, we are dedicated to promoting a culture where the students learn about sustainable development through the avenue of agriculture in the 4H Club.

This community is a farming community, and the students are accustomed to practising agriculture using the more traditional methods which encourage the use of harsh chemicals and slash-and-burn agriculture.

However, in the club, they are trained and educated in the Science aspect of agriculture and more importantly, the practice of organic and safe farming is highly utilised.

We recognise that traditional methods of farming rely on using harsh chemicals – pesticides and weedicides, along with the use of synthetic fertilisers. Students are now taught to use plants such as ‘Stinking Suzie’ and mint to ward away insects, and we were given an organic fertiliser by Mark Forgenie – a fermented liquid fertiliser made from rice hulls.

This fertiliser has produced tremendous results in our garden, and everyone is amazed to see how effectively it works. It is initiatives like these which contribute to preserving the environment.

Also, the theme of one of our gardens is recycling. In this garden everything used is a recyclable product: grow bags, pigtail buckets, soft drink bottles and bamboo.

The intention behind this is to promote the idea of recycling items, while gaining the advantage of producing a crop/product which can be used as a meal and sold to generate revenue.

The school is very committed to this idea since we promote the initiative of recycling bins at our school and students know that their cans/juice boxes/plastic bottles can be placed into these bins to be recycled.

We also have a clean-up crew – a small club where students patrol the compound during their lunch break, ensuring that other students do not litter and where they remove any litter found. These students are hailed environmental heroes at Santa Maria RC School.

Our vision at our school is one where we believe that if we can influence this present generation with these ideals and practices, then we’re assured of a safer, cleaner planet Earth for generations to come.

— Merlissa Supersad- Reviero, 4H Voluntary Leader Santa Maria Green Thumb Planters, 4H Secretary, County Victoria