Bringing fundamental social change through education
Training is a fundamental activity for Amrita Bhoomi. There are training programs for women and men farmers of all ages, but also programs specifically directed at youth. Options for rural youth in the countryside are few, and migration is rampant. Many don’t have the necessary skills to work on the land. Amrita Bhoomi aims to target many such youth and train them to create farming models that are economically viable, agroecological, and can provide a dignified life for their families
There are both short courses that last 1-2 days, but also more in-depth longer courses that go on over a couple of months. Most of these courses are taught in collaboration with allied teachers, trainers, local NGOs and peasant’s. Farmer-to-farmer is a key methodology used for some of the courses where agroecological training is concerned, in this style, experienced farmers come and share their knowledge with other farmers who then engage in a collective reflection as part of the learning process. These courses can take place on the Amrita Bhoomi campus, or also on farmers’ fields.
Some key topics include agroecology – practices, theory, alternative economies/markets, agroforestry, seed saving, value addition, renewable energy, climate resistant peasant crops like millets, gender and agriculture, history of peasant movements among others.
Beyond Technical Education
These courses are not only technical in character but also philosophical/ideological. Some of the major issues discussed, especially among the youth are about understanding their society, their role as farmers, caste, class, gender, religion, power relations. They also learn the actual practical skills of farming, so they can put them to practice when they go home. The idea is to inspire students who are slowly able to make changes to their realities – by not just practicing agroecological farming on their own lands, but also have a more critical understanding of rural reality, which helps to put in perspective the importance of their organized efforts. Many of the youth whose lives have been touched by Amrita Bhoomi are inspired and proud to take up farming. Some are part of KRRS and engaged in political work and will become activists and leaders.
Peasant Youth Internships:
Amrita Bhoomi offers interested rural youth from peasant families to manage a small piece of land for a year or two to learn agroecological skills and return as trainers to their communities.