POETCom Member, Fung’s Farm in 2021 developed green school models or organic demo farms for remote schools in Beqa and Yanuca islands off Fiji’s main island of Viti Levu. These demo farms, which were based on POETCom’s Pacific Organic Standards were set up to provide boarding school students with nutritional and clean food.
Fung’s Farm owner Veresa Fung said: “We see the need to drive the ‘organic and growing for sustainability’ key message from the outset for our future generation. And this programme will ensure continuous nutritious supply of vegetables that enhance a positive learning environment.”
The programme highlights different aspects of farming such as soil health, the HomeBiogas system, drip kit irrigation system, seedlings raising, organic farming techniques and food security.
“We are also working with our partners in a holistic approach to also help the school hostel cooking facility using HomeBiogas, at the same time driving the fundamental message of reducing carbon emissions towards our fight against climate change,” said Mr Fung.
One of the school hostels relied completely on firewood to cook the students’ food, and with this project, the HomeBioGas system will save 6 tons per annum by saving trees, saving the release of methane from animal waste and saving organic waste from seeping into the ocean resulting in agal blooms and higher incidences of the crown of thorns starfish which destroys coral reefs.
These four schools in Beqa and Yanuca now have access to clean, safe food for their boarding students as well as being able to maintain and conserve their natural resources through sustainable organic practices. The Green School Programme has also now attracted over 20 farmers in Beqa who wish to get organic certification under the participatory guarantee system. The green school models were made in partnership with Pacific Blue Foundation and the Canadian High Commission.
Further works also included organic and livelihood workshops covering 15 communities in the western region of Fiji and organic agriculture development for girls under Homes of Hope Programme. From the 18 participants, 10 of them have gone on to benefit from this programme.
Gender equality is also a major objective of Fung’s Farm. The number of women’s participation has increased from 224 in 2020 to 336 in 2021.