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Organic farming to be encouraged in Sri Lankan parishes

Motivated by Pope Francis' encyclical 'Laudato si'', more Catholics are learning to grow healthy food

ucanews.com reporter, Colombo

ucanews.com reporter, Colombo

Published: May 10, 2016 10:20 AM GMT

Updated: May 10, 2016 10:21 AM GMT

Organic farming to be encouraged in Sri Lankan parishes

This Sri Lankan Catholic woman has learnt how to best grow organic vegetables and fruit thanks to a program run by Caritas. (Photo by ucanews.com)

Catholics in Sri Lanka are preparing to promote organic farming methods in parishes across the island nation.

Inspired by Pope Francis' encyclical Laudato si', Caritas Colombo recently sponsored a workshop on organic farming where the National Catholic Association of Home Gardener was also established.

"We want to also organize workshops on organic farming in every parish," said Thilina Alahakon, from the local Catholic newspaper Gnanrtha Pradeepaya who conducted the workshop attended by 80 parish leaders.

"We are planning to further educate parishes on Laudato si'," said Alahakon in reference to the pope's encyclical that calls upon mankind to care for God's creation.

"We will get the assistance of Caritas at the parish level," he said and stated that the Catholic development aid agency already has a network of groups trained in organic farming methods.

Caritas has ongoing projects in three districts: Colombo, Kaluthara and Gampaha that promote organic gardens in homes.

Titus Wimalasiri, executive manager of Caritas Colombo, said that the idea of organic farming is becoming popular because people are concerned about toxic poisons being present in their food.

"There are diseases that have an unknown origin and this has made people rethink about what they are eating and how it is produced," said Wimalasiri.

In other parishes steps are being taken to help parishioners learn more about organic farming.

Peter Marasigha, a civil engineer from the parish of Wattala, Colombo North, plans to create a model farm in his garden and wants to help create a committee of organic farmers in his parish so to help motivate others.

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"We have planned to add a special team to promote organics," said Marasigha adding that the goal is to motivate parishioners to cultivate their own healthy vegetables at home.

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