This post is part of a series of interviews with these charities to let them tell you their own story.
Climate change is no longer a secret to anyone. We’ve got summer days in March, winter days in July, and nothing makes sense. But what does that mean for the soils that feed us all, and the people involved in the industry?
We’ve asked Divya Prasath Waverijn-Ravikumar, Salt Farm Foundation’s Online Marketeer and Project Coordinator about how their charity helps combat recent climate changes and its consequences through saline agriculture.
How did the story of Salt Farm Foundation begin? Is there anyone or anything that inspired you?
Salt Farm Foundation was initiated by Marc van Rijsselberghe, an idealistic entrepreneur with extensive experience in organic farming. It all started when he identified potatoes that were able to grow in the salt affected land on Texel, a Dutch island, near the dykes. Marc was really intrigued by this and thought it could be a great solution for areas around the world that are affected by salinity. Since then, for over a decade, our organisation together with our partners have been working to identify crop varieties and agriculture methods to re-grow crops in salt affected areas.
Is there a specific project that you’re most proud of so far, or a story that stood out to you?
We are proud of all the projects we’ve worked on so far, from growing salt tolerant potatoes in Pakistan, to teaching more than 5.000 farmers in Bangladesh about their possibilities. You can read more about our projects here.
Some people are worried about where their money is actually going when donating to charities. How do you respond to them?
Our credentials are our projects and our partners. Moreover, we work closely with the Dutch government and they are our biggest supporters, so things are also closely monitored. For example, our project “The Salt Solution” that took place in Bangladesh was mainly sponsored by the Dutch National Postcode Lottery, while our current project in Bonaire is supported by the Dutch Ministry of Agriculture.
What do you do to grow and move forward every day?
We develop knowledge on saline agriculture and then share it to small scale farmers all over the world, so we can help them adapt. We do this through our open-source platform. Our research has already yielded considerable results. We have discovered many crops, ranging from potatoes and carrots to strawberries and tomatoes, that thrive under saline conditions, and we aim to discover many more.
What’s next for Salt Farm Foundation?
We’re currently working on a project in Bonaire to help farmers grow crops again and help Bonaire become more self-sufficient regarding their food requirements. We’re testing a couple of crops there right now. Moreover, we are working hard on researching the effect of seaweed as fertilizer in saline conditions!
Do you have a message for encouraging people to give back to others?
Climate change is affecting us all, but those in developing countries that depended on their crops are hit the hardest. Reversing climate change is no longer possible, so we’re trying to help them adapt and prosper in the new reality. Our aim is to achieve zero hunger in a sustainable way, and we need your support to make it happen.
Thank you for sharing this with us!
We hope you enjoyed learning about saline agriculture and how it could be the future for many affected soils over the world.