Connections with new organic farming initiatives taking place in northeast India will be the main topic of discussion at Fertile Ground’s annual general meeting, taking place Saturday, Nov. 1. The event gets underway at 2 p.m. at Creekside Commons, 2202 Lambert Dr. in Courtenay.
Following a short business meeting, there will be chai-style tea, fresh Indian samosas and a special screening of a video produced by local photographer and videographer, Sarah Kerr.
Later this month, Kerr’s film will be shown in Assam to over 1,000 farmers who, at the invitation of the state Ministers of Agriculture, Industry and Rural Development, will be gathering to discuss the future of the regional agriculture sector.
The film features three small-scale organic growers from the Comox Valley: Moss Dance, Arzeena Hamir and Russell Heitzmann.
Their message encourages farmers and the Assam government to work towards developing a sustainable food system that will provide healthy food for local markets, encourage a greater number of young people to get involved in farming, and create new opportunities for small-scale producers.
Following the film, Fertile Ground’s co-ordinator, Peggy Carswell, will present a brief overview of a new organic farming program just getting underway in Assam. Located at a rural college in one of Assam’s main agricultural regions, it will provide classroom and hands-on training for students and farmers interested in learning about more sustainable farming practices.
The new initiative is being supported in part by donations from Strathcona Sunrise Rotary Club and District 5020’s grants program. An organic demonstration garden built on the college campus will provide opportunities for students to develop practical skills, and will be accessible to school children and families from the nearby area. Income from the sale of organic vegetables and inputs such as compost and compost “teas” produced onsite will provide farmers with good quality soil amendments, help cover a portion of the project’s operating costs, and enable students to develop important entrepreneurial and marketing skills.
Information about Fertile Ground’s programs and upcoming volunteer opportunities – here and in Assam – are available online at www.fertile-ground.org or by calling 250-337-8348.