Nature and Body brings students to farming settlement

IIP project embraces production of vegetables and brings the garden to school

DCIM100GOPROGOPR1240. Students at “20 de março” farming settlement in Três Lagoas – Mato Grosso do Sul

Students at the Joaquim Marques and Parque São Carlos public schools in Três Lagoas (MS) visited the “20 de março” farming settlement on August 8 and 9, where they took an up-close look at produce farming for the 2016 edition of “Nature and Body.”

Since 2013, the project has promoted work to raise awareness of sustainability, with a focus on environmental preservation and on promoting a healthier life among public primary school students, by growing medicinal herbs at school. Yet this year, the project is taking another step by including produce farming, bringing the garden and soil care to the academic environment.

“The idea is to place all of these transversal themes of sustainability, health and preservation within the educational proposal at schools, developing continual work that gives students information beyond the basic school curriculum,” explains Gabriel Lima, a Social Responsibility Analyst at International Paper, which promotes the “Nature and Body” actions through International Paper Institute (IIP).

The project dives into the world of family farming and produce production with the aim of bringing discussions from the school to everyday practice. To do this, it was fundamental that the students be closer to the farmers in order to reproduce farming techniques at their schools. “The visit to the settlement was fantastic and not only taught them about the importance of caring for the soil, but also about issues such as perseverance and persistence, because the farmers told them about the challenges in achieving the area and getting the farm to where it is today,” says Lívia Ferreira, a math teacher at the Parque São Carlos School.

Medicinal herbs will continue to be a part of “Nature and Body,” but with other foods also being used, there are more possibilities for topics of discussion in the classroom. “By implementing the gardens and taking responsibility for irrigation and planting, the students not only harvest the vegetables, but also gain knowledge through contact with the earth,” says Gabriel.

Math in the garden – The math teacher, Lívia, who went with the students to the 20 de Março settlement, brought math to the gardens, with a practical demonstration of concepts developed in class. The students measured the size of the garden, calculated the area, the perimeter and how many seedlings the gardens would hold, in addition to the measuring system, working with meters and centimeters,” says Lívia, who has been involved with the Project at the school since last year and sees the progress being made by the students’ participation. “Soon they will start to reap the results.”

In addition to gardening activities, which have already directly benefitted around 400 students and have even impacted 1,000 students in Três Lagoas, the 2016 edition of “Nature and Body” is geared towards involving students in harvesting and making salads collectively, serving to spread the concept of healthy eating to the entire academic community.

In a country where 51% of the population is currently obese, according to the Ministry of Health, developing healthy eating in practice, at schools, is more than a matter of education; it means caring for the health of the generation of tomorrow and transforming people’s lives – the role of IIP.


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