Shammy Jacob and his wife Charlotte Van’t Klooster own a three-acre farm called Jacob & Klooster Farms located in Thalambur. A father of two sons, Shammy says that he understands the importance of living close to nature. “One of the reasons why my family relocated to Chennai was to lead a sustainable life. Ours is a lifestyle farm and we have converted the farm into a learning space for children. These days, we have many virtual classes on farming for children and adults. Though these classes offer a great insight into farming, some parents feel that children should learn about farming, harvesting, etc, by spending time at a farm periodically,” Shammy Jacob tells us.
An innovation consultant-turned-organic farmer Shammy stresses the need for a child to understand what he/she is consuming. “Children should be taught to accept the speed and quality of mother nature. I have seen some kids saying they cannot eat keerai because it has holes; some children don’t consume mangoes if they find any worms. Children are not realising that if you find insects in fruits or vegetables, it doesn’t mean they are rotten but they are pesticide-free. Children should be able to identify things that are not natural. All these are basic knowledge but they will understand it better if they have first-hand experience. Farming helps children have a good understanding of the food industry and appreciate farmers. Once kids understand where their food comes from they will learn to be more responsible and will have a greater appreciation for food. Farming teaches kids how to care for animals, teaches life skills, safety skills and problem-solving skills. They will have a greater awareness of the weather and mother nature. When children farm and harvest on their own, kids will learn that hard work results in sweet rewards,” he adds.
Recently, Shammy had a family staying at their farm for one month. “The family’s house is just 10 km away from our farm. They visited the farm for a one-day picnic and then extended the stay for one week. But somehow, they ended up staying at our farm for one month. The reason why they stayed back is that their child enjoyed the environment so much. It was a great learning experience for the kid. Parents who are leading an urban lifestyle should take their children to farms and allow them to spend time with nature. That said, parents should make sure that the farm where they take children is following organic farming methods. Once a child understands how crops are harvested, grown, sold and stored, they will start nurturing the environment,” Shammy smiles.
Children gaining first-hand farming experience at Jacob & Klooster Farms in Thalambur; Shammy Jacob and his wife Charlotte Van’t Klooster
When Sesha Sai started Farm Guru a few years ago, he aimed to provide hands-on experience in farming, ploughing, sowing, threshing, pounding, harvesting and so on. “We started as a one-day farming experience for students and later, developed a curriculum in farming. Though I host online classes, I feel that a child must have hands-on farming experience — this will provide a different perspective on how they look at nature. Today’s young generation should understand why agriculture is very important in our country and the reason why more farmers should go back to organic farming. From our experience at the farm, we have noticed that children bring in a lot of innovation when they are with nature. We need such transformations in farming today,” says Sesha Sai.
The Farmguru Agritech Center located near Sholavaram (7 km from Redhills) has opened its gates again for children and adults. “We are waiting for people to visit our farm. All COVID-related protocols are being followed at the farm,” he adds.