The auspicious WORLD SOIL DAY was observed on 5th December 2020 in the Vagad region by Janjatiya Swaraj Sangathan and partner communities living across 1000 villages at the tri-junction of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh. One lakh tribal farmer family, the custodians of the soil, actively participated and celebrated the day with grandeur. Among others who participated in the auspicious occasion included the community member associated with VAAGDHARA as an extended family like members of Janjatiya Swaraj Sangathan, Samudayik Sadasya, members of Saksham Samuh and Village Development and Child Rights Committee.
This year’s theme “KEEP SOIL ALIVE, & PROTECT SOIL BIODIVERSITY” was highlighted and explained by VAAGDHARA’s Secretary Mr. Jayesh Joshi by urging the tribal community to focus their attention on the workers in the soil like microorganism, worms, etc. which contribute to healthy soils and healthy life. He stressed upon evaluating the efforts done by the community on soil conservation, plantations, checking soil erosion and water runoff, an adaption of diverse cropping / mixed farming, use of organic fertilizers and chemical-free pesticides, usage of more and more indigenous seeds and other ground-level activities treating soil as a living entity on this day. He further emphasized that the tribal community has lived in harmony with nature helping maintain ecological balance in their domain. They have carried the legacy of cultural and traditional practices of managing soil, forest, seeds, livestock and other natural resources. The community has not only displayed their unique way of maintaining the ecological balance but also paved a way for all who are worried and concerned, nationally and internationally about all ecologically resilient practices. The messages were recorded and shared with the community through Abhiyan Mobile App.
A team of more than 100 members, 290 Community Resource Persons (CRPs) and more than 1000 lead community members from Saksham Samooh (women farmer group), Janjatiya Swaraj Sangathan (JSS), Tribal Development Forum (TDF), VAAGDHARA Tribal Food and Grains Initiatives (FPO), Children Forums (Bal Panchayats) and Village Development & Child Right Committee (VDCRC) strived relentlessly for celebrating the occasion simultaneously across 1000 villages reaching out to more than 100,000 families of the tri-junction. The farmer families were accompanied by the community leaders and team members of VAAGDHARA in each village, spreading the message of soil conservation and protecting soil biodiversity.
Team of VAAGDHARA’s community radio – ‘VAGAD Radio-90.8’ also coordinated with field members and managed live broadcast that helped to connect with thousands of farmers across villages. ‘ABHIYAAN’ the mobile-based application, developed by VAAGDHARA was effective in delivering the message uniformly among the partner community. Most of the lead members were given access to the application who facilitated delivering the message among the masses. The Application was also instrumental in reaching out to many of the community members virtually, for whom it was difficult to reach for celebration due to COVID 19 restrictions. The preloaded radio messages, audio and video clips were played simultaneously at all places where villagers could understand the significance of soil conservation.
Other activities on this occasion were:
Bhoomi Poojan (Worshipping Soil): Bhoomi poojan was organized in each village with enthusiasm in the traditional manner. The indigenous seeds, vegetables and compost were showcased by farmers as a commitment to adopt soil friendly practices.
Street March: A short street march at the village level was conducted in most of the places to generate awareness among people about the necessity and importance of the day. Posters and banners were displayed showing messages crucial to protecting soil biodiversity and making people believe soil as a living entity.