Sustainable school farms

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Sustainable school farms: learning through experience sustainable agricultural and food safety practices

Arta, GreeceArta, Greece
Year Founded:
2014
Organization type: 
hybrid
Project Stage:
Idea
Budget: 
$50,000 - $100,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Our experience, from the design of school yards, with vegetable gardens, all around Greece, is that in spite of the first enthusiasm, eventually they are abandoned. We propose the creation of central school farms in order to promote sustainable agricultural practices and safe food production.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

school students had experience regarding sustainable agricultural practice and food production?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

During the last years there is great interest for green school yards, in contrast to the typical impervious surfaced yards with some poorly maintained shrubs and trees. Also in the framework of the environmental education, school communities are asking for vegetable and herbal gardens. As we have involved in numerous relevant projects all around Greece, we know that in spite of the first enthusiasm, eventually these gardens are left abandoned.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

The proposed solution is based on the assumption that a central school farm has greater potential to be better organised and well maintained. This will create more opportunities for students to experience the connection between environment, sustainable agricultural production and food safety. The students of elementary and secondary level, could visit periodically the farm and attend practical lessons regarding agricultural activities. Organic and integrated agriculture and breeding models would be presented and students will be promoted to get involved in relevant activities through which they will learn the concepts of sustainability. This model will be first applied to rural areas, were students are already connected with agriculture.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

During a typical day in the sustainable school farm, ordinary maintenance works will be applied, schools will arrive and students will attend brief presentations and then do practice at the farm. For some schools, dedicated places in the farm will used all year round while others will share places. All students will handed material regarding sustainable agricultural practices and will be urged to discuss what they have learnt in the homes and in their schools. The web site of the farm will provide a platform for continuous sharing of information and experiences regarding the activities of the farm.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

During the last decades, millions have been spent to educate farmers which in most cases have already developed professional habits that were not environmentally friendly. Our proposal aims at students which are directly connected with agricultural practice and they can promote sustainable practices in their family agribusiness' which it is very probable to work at. The proposed Sustainable School Farm is at "idea stage". From relevant activities abroad and in Greece and from our experience we expect it matter. As example we refer Organisation Earth (www.centeroftheearth.gr) which provides educational sessions regarding protection of natural environment. Hundreds of schools have already visited its facilities. But as it is based 2km from the center of Athens it is mainly addressed to the capital's area students. Our proposal is to establish educational farms at rural areas.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

Agriculture is changing and Greece, which has an extended agricultural sector in which strongly supports its economy, has to follow. New farmers have to be professionally educated and treat the natural resources in a sustainable way. Among these resources are not only the soil, the water etc but also the landscape as a whole. EU and national legislation provides the framework for good agricultural practices but these have to be passed to the people from young ages. The proposed idea after evaluation of the pilot stage can be spread around the country in less than 5 years.
Sustainability

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

The land will be provided by TEIEP at Kostakii Campus (Arta). The construction costs will be included in a project, financed by an EU or National programme. The staff costs will be low as students of the TeGeo dept. of TEIEP will do their 6 months practice at the farm. Income from a tickets will be used in order to cover the operational costs, while donations and participation in various programs of Erasmus, GSNG etc will provide extra funds.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

In Greece, a number of allotment gardens have been created during the last years, but they are mainly addressed to adults. Also public institutes, professional chambers and private companies provide agricultural practice educational sessions mainly in Athens. Organization Earth is an excellent example of relevant idea which already in operation. The proposed central school farms will be created in rural areas, and will be focused on students which are in great connection to agricultural practice and have great potential to become farmers themselves.
Team

Founding Story

The "Aha!" moment was in a team meeting some days after we have finished the construction of a school herbal garden at Corfu. The garden was funded by an initiative of a public benefit foundation. The presentation showed that was a very nice day, the teachers and the students have worked hard and they were very happy about their achievement. But the discussion that followed remind us that the same pictures followed other similar gardens that now are abandoned because for example no teacher or parent has time or interest for it. A that time came the idea. Why not to create a central school farm here at TEIEP where we have constant interest and plenty resources to run it successfully and get the most of it?

Team

Dr. Goltsiou K., Landscape Arch. with great experience in agrotouristic projects will design the facility in cooperation with Mrs. Andrianou A., Agriculturalist, which designs sustainable school yards and play spaces. Dr. Chiotelli K., Landscape Arch., works in environmental education programs. She will develop relevant programs with Mrs. Tsoukala K. which is a teacher. Mrs. Bakea M., Agriculturalist, will work as caretaker of the farm.
About You
Organization:
Technological Educational Institute of Epirus
About You
First Name

Ioannis

Last Name

Tsirogiannis

About Your Project
Organization Name

Technological Educational Institute of Epirus

How long has your organization been operating?

Project
Organization Country

, EP, Arta

Country where this project is creating social impact

, EP, Arta

What awards or honors has the project received?
Funding: How is your project financial supported?

Regional government, National government.

Supplemental
Partnerships: Tell us about your partnerships.

The founder is currently Project Manager of the ETCP GR-IT 2007-2013, IRMA project (http://www.irrigation-management.eu), in which 6 partners from Italy and Greece are join their efforts for the development of efficient irrigation management tools for agricultural cultivations and urban landscapes. He also represents TEI of Epirus at UNISCAPE (Network of Universities for the Implementation of the European Landscape Convention, http://www.uniscape.eu). The members of his team have significant experience regarding EU and national R&D projects, through which numerous partnerships have been created. Indicatively the active participation in Sustainable School Initiative (http://www.aeiforosxoleio.gr/) and in COST action FP1204 Urban Green Infrastructure (http://www.greeninurbs.com/) are referred.

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