Environment Field Note: Organic Farming

I took the challenge for the Environment Field Note and went on a hike.  A five-hour hike!  I visited the Tas Silg Archaeological Complex and along the way I saw beautiful countryside, Cliffside ocean views and animals.  The most important part of the hike was a visit to the Dar Frate Jacoba Youth Alliance Permaculture Center.  This visit helped change my life.

What makes this environment special or different?

The environment in Malta is special because you have a mix of rocky roads and dirt countryside.  I went on a five-hour hike through the Tas Silg (Tas means town and Silg means ice) Archaeological complex to see both environments up close.  There are parts of Malta that are very modern and built up. To see this other view was very cool.  Part of the hike included a lesson on organic farming.  This is becoming a big thing in Malta because they see how important it is to use green (harmless) methods to produce food and get rid of waste.

What parts of this environment help people to live here?

The parts of the environment that help people live here are the farming grounds.  We learned more about this when we visited the Dar Frate Jacoba Youth Alliance Permaculture Center in Marsaskala.  This is a center run by the Jesuits that brings troubled youth to live on-site and help work the grounds.

Their approach is a holistic (whole person) way of living.  Those that work the farm learn of the importance of green living and it is a form of therapy for troubled youth.  They get to do hands-on work, take care of animals and help with construction on the farm.  The goal of the farm is to become a fully self-sustaining organic farm, meaning that they will only eat the things that they grow and will not use any bad chemicals that can hurt the food.

They have so many projects! They have started to grow vegetables like kale, tomatoes, eggplant, potatoes, carrots and more.  They also have livestock (animals) that they raise for food.  Another project they have started is the planting of trees to build their own forest.  This will help clean the air as trees give us oxygen.  Dar Frate Jacoba Permaculture center is a very special place because they help those living at the center work on their mind, body and spirit.  This is very important if you want to be healthy and happy.

What challenges do people face living in this environment?

The challenges that people here face are pollution from car exhaust as well as insects attacking crops. Farmers in the area work together to do crop rotation. This protects the crops and the soil.

They also have to deal with lack of space.  Malta is a very tiny island and most farmers have only a little bit of land to work with.  They are trying to make sure that the land can help the environment as much as possible.  I think their work is very serious and I hope that more people become aware and try to help.

How have people been adapting to this environment?

As I said above, I think the farmers see the importance of taking care of the land they do have and educating people about the need for more green land where they can grow more organic crops.  They are trying to keep what they have by taking care of it and treating it well.  They want to go back to a more natural way of growing food so that there are places available to feed the locals if there is ever a problem.  We all can do our part by recycling, buying organic foods, and supporting our local farmers.  This experience has made me more aware and I will take what I have learned back home with me and will try to include these little steps in my life to help take care of the environment.

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