In view of the importance of foodstuffs quality and balanced menu for human health, at the end of 1992 the General Meeting of participants and the Board of Administrators resolved to organize in-house agricultural production based on ecological farming principles in order to provide the canteen of the Children's Recreation and Rehabilitation Center "Nadeshda" with high-quality fruit and vegetable products. The necessity of the resolution was caused by the fact that children permanently residing in territories contaminated as a result of the disaster at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant undergo health resort treatment at the the Children's Recreation and Rehabilitation Center "Nadeshda" on a priority basis.
While cultivating agricultural products, we are guided by the following fundamental principles of ecological farming:
- not to use chemical crop protection products and mineral artificial-synthesized fertilizers in agricultural products cultivation;
- not to cultivate genetically modified organisms;
-to increase soil fertility by means of planting crops on green manure, application of compost organic and non-compost mineral materials, complex melioration measures;
- to use maximally biological peculiarities of different botanical types and families of crops through their mixed sowing (planting).
The total farming plot area is 27.4 hectares. To cultivate potatoes and vegetables according to the principles of ecological farming, two crop rotation systems are used with total area of 18.2 hectares.
One of the crop rotation systems – the two-field with total area of 8 hectares is represented by potato field (4 hectares) and the field with crops on green manure (4 hectares).
The second crop rotation system – the three-field one - has total area of 10.2 hectares. It is represented by three identical fields 3,4 hectares each. On one of the fields potatoes and vegetable crops (cabbage, carrots, beetroot, bulb onion, marrow, pumpkin, greens: lettuce, green onion, radish, dill, parsley, dock, etc.) are cultivated in mixed sewing.
On the second field crops on green manure are cultivated, the third one is occupied with grain crops (winter rye, oats, barley) on grain or on green manure.
The sheltered ground is represented by three unheated plastic-covered greenhouses with total area of 600 m2, where three following crops are cultivated according to the principles of ecological farming: cucumber, tomato and sweet pepper, and in low season the following greens: green onion, lettuce, radish. The greenhouses are used to grow our own seedlings for open and sheltered ground.
The orchard occupies the area of 2,0 hectares. In the orchard we cultivate such fruit trees and shrubs as: apple tree, plum tree, blackcurrant. The fruit crops are maintained in compliance with the principles of integrated farming with elements of intensive cropping including intensive fruit tree pruning, in case of urgent need - protection from pests and diseases.
Potatoes and other fruit and vegetable products which are grown at the farming plot are used at the canteen of the Children's Recreation and Rehabilitation Centre "Nadeshda" for nutrition of the children on health-resort treatment or recuperation. The Centre’s demand for potatoes and other fruit and vegetables is covered from 70 to 100% depending on the type of product.
All the produced crops undergo examination at the food testing laboratory of the Vileika Gyeginic and Epidemiological Centre before going to the canteen. For many years we have met the requirements for products used in children’s food. It should be noted the food specifications permit insignificant content of chemical compounds from crop protection products. However, such compounds are absolutely absent in the crops produced at the farming plot of the Children's Recreation and Rehabilitation Centre "Nadeshda", because they are not used in agricultural work.
Besides, the content of radionuclides is less than 5 Bq/kg while the permitted limit is 70-100 Bq/kg, depending on the products type.
Within the framework of the campaign ”Nadeshda for Eastern Europe” with the financial support of Hessen and Nossau Evangelic church the first phase of construction of the irrigation water supply system was carried out in order to optimize irrigation and increase crop capacity. This phase includes:
- The construction of the pavilion for installation the high-pressure electric pump ( for pumping water from the pond and using in the irrigation system)
- Cable laying from the electric power substation to the pavilion (to pump electrification)
- Laying the stationary underground water pipeline from the water supply well to the artificial pond (for filling the pond with water)
Apart from agricultural production, since 2007 we have been involved in timber cutting. These activities are aimed to fill the needs of Children's Centre "Nadeshda" subdivisions in firewood. The annual felling volume exceeds 1,000 m3.