Two students visited Sogn Jord- og Hagebruksskule last week. The school teaches organic farming. This is their report:
The Environmental pillar of UWC Red Cross Nordic aims to implant in us an interest in environmental topics, and to encourage a sustainable lifestyle. Amongst the activities that the College does to promote those ideals is an exchange with Sogn Jord- og Hagebruksskule in Aurland. From Tuesday until Friday last week Mar, from the Netherlands, and Naty from Costa Rica, had the great opportunity to visit this amazing place.
From the moment we arrived we were impressed by the incredibly welcoming attitude of the students, staff and locals. We started with a tour of the campus seeing the gardens that students develop as a class project, the greenhouses in which classes are taught and the enormous fields in which the crops are planted. Seeing all this we could hardly wait to start our adventure the next day.
“Now I know how this ecological farming school works, its freedom and its practical classes really appealed to me”, says Mar.
We learned how to prepare a cucumber bed, sowing from a tractor and by hand, we saw how the cows and goats were milked (and we milked them by hand!), and we had the opportunity to ride horses.The careful, peaceful approach towards the plants and animals by both teachers and students in classes surprised us. Further, it was obvious that everyone in the community really loved being in the SJH and their passion contributed to our love for this place. It was incredible, for example, knowing that Spira (our host) together with other students, made a campaign – which, by the way succeeded – to have only organic food in their canteen. Also, it was amazing to see how passionate all of them were for what they are doing. Some students had discovered this vocation when involved in other careers, and some of them were always interested in, or in contact with ecological farming. It was really pleasing to see how genuinely they enjoyed their lessons, as well as how interesting their plans for the future were.
“From my personal point of view, it was a wonderful learning opportunity which really gained my personal engagement with the topic. I come from a country that is supposedly in harmony with nature, but in reality it is rather gradually getting away from those ideals. Before becoming a student in RCN, I was never really concerned about what is one of the biggest challenges for humanity nowadays, which is sustainability. So going to Sogn Jord- og Hagebruksskule really helped to waken my appreciation for organic farming, as the processes by which it is done are really rigorous and require lots of care and passion from those involved”, says Naty.
As a students from RCN, this experience serves us so that we can be more engaged with the Environmental Pillar in our institution, as well as promoting what we have learnt in the past few days. We want to bring this grand respect for the environment we live in back to our own campus, and make others realise its importance. Not only do we want to help establish new environmental projects, but we also want to encourage mindfulness towards nature. We really look forward to going back, and hope that more students will be able to see the magic of this place!