Farmer Field Schools


Farmer Field Schools (FFS) provide an alternative to the conventional top-down extension approach by emphasizing participatory methods, experimentation, and fluid problem solving.   They are based on the principles of people-centered learning and provide a means to create and share knowledge among teachers and farmers.  The learning environment and network enable the land users to learn about particular crop production problems and develop ways to address them through their own observation, discussion, and participation in practical learning-by-doing field exercises. [1]

In Kabul, Afghanistan, the FFS students (extension staff and cooperative leaders who volunteer their time to serve as a trainers and mentors for other women in their community) visit the training center each week and participate in FFS classes taught by AAEP Women in Agriculture staff or other experts.   A typical FFS Saturday begins with a farm tour to observe and discuss developments, problems, and solutions.  The FFS students also observe agricultural practices appropriate to the stage of production and their effect throughout the farm as the season progresses.  The weekly training addresses new techniques and skills and equips them to teach and model appropriate gardening, husbandry, food handling, preservation, and marketing skills.   The lessons follow the crop season, covering every aspect of food production from seed starting and preparing soil, to drip irrigation and IPM to harvesting and marketing of products that are not consumed at home.  An important feature of the FFS approach is the bidirectional flow of teaching and learning.

 Farmer Field School weekly schedule  in Kabul, Afghanistan