Finding the Organic Solution

Match and discuss environmental issues and possible responses in small groups.

Objective

To learn organic solutions to common agricultural problems

Materials

  • Pens/pencils
  • Paper with the three problems and three solutions below written on separate pieces

Time

20 minutes

Procedure

In this exercise, kids encounter scenarios describing some agricultural problems and decide what organic solutions they could implement to confront them.

Form groups of kids, and give each a sheet of paper with one of the problems or solutions written on it. Each group should read its paper aloud and then find another group that has the problem or the solution that corresponds. The correct pairs can sit down together, and, after taking five minutes to prepare, each pair describes its particular problem and why the organic solution effectively addresses it. After all three presentations, the entire group can discuss what it might do, as a community service project, to encourage people to implement these solutions. 

The following scenarios come from Peace Corps/Dominican Republic; revise according to your country’s issues.

Problem 1

Juan had eggplants and peppers with an infestation of harmful insects. When he sprayed pesticides, he noticed that bees that normally helped pollinate his vegetables were dead. Some harmful insects, on the other hand, survived because they were pesticide resistant. Apparently, when they continued to reproduce, the young insects inherited this resistance to the pesticide. Now, Juan has to spray twice the amount of pesticide as previously in order to get the same results, but he is seeing fewer vegetables because fewer pollinating insects are around. What could he have done differently?

Problem 2

Pedro has a natural pond on his farm. Juan put fertilizer around his plants to help them grow faster. The crop looks pretty, but does not have the same great taste as before because the plants are receiving different nutrients. When it rains, the pond is filled with the fertilizer that is draining off of his plants. The pond is filled with algae that grow very fast and remove valuable oxygen from the water, thus suffocating fish and other aquatic creatures. Now only algae grow in the lagoon, and no one can fish there anymore. What could he have done differently?

Problem 3

Aminata has been spraying her farm with herbicides to kill weeds. The herbicide trickles into the underground water and enters the groundwater reservoir. When Aminata and her family drink water from their well, they get sick from the herbicide. What could be done differently?

Solution 1: Could plant plants that attract insects that like to eat other insects that may be harmful to garden plants. Could learn to make natural pesticides. 

Solution 2: Could collect organic solid waste from agriculture activities and animals (manure) to make compost piles. As a result, there would be many fish in the clear water of the pond, and the harvest would be better! 

Solution 3: Could weed by hand and cover the land with organic litter such as cut grass, dry leaves, and pieces of cardboard, which hinder weed growth and leave plants and soil contaminant free.


This lesson plan is an activity from the Environmental Activities for Youth Clubs and Camps, a resource developed by the Peace Corps Office of Overseas Programming and Training (OPATS). It was contributed by Peace Corps/Dominican Republic.

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