ICARE, the International Center for Agribusiness Research and Education, plans to establish an EcoFarm School on the outskirts of Yerevan to bring nature, the environment and modern farming techniques to the doorstep of city dwellers.
ICARE’s new Eco-Farm School will provide opportunities for everyone to experience nature firsthand and grow their own ideas. The EcoFarm School will change the landscape of agriculture in Armenia.
ICARE was established in Armenia in 2005 by Texas A&M University to educate agribusiness managers and equip them with up-to-date knowledge in management, marketing, finance and soft skills, like networking and communication. This institution has matriculated around 700 graduates from its agribusiness and marketing, winemaking and wine business, greenhouse management and other agribusiness-related programs. The graduates find professional employment within only a few months after graduation. The majority stay and work in Armenia because they can ensure comfortable lives for themselves and their families. These graduates are among the changemakers of Armenia.
We see an increasing trend among youth, especially in the capital city of Yerevan, who visualize their every business idea through the prism of technology. We want to combine technology with environmentally conscious and profitable agriculture. The EcoFarm School will be a “Learn by Doing” agricultural technology and agribusiness incubation center, promoting environmentally conscious agriculture, a healthy lifestyle and nature appreciation. Having in mind the four pillars (agriculture, environment, technology and business) EcoFarm will provide agribusiness incubation opportunities for ICARE students and all other students and young professionals who are passionate about establishing their agribusiness startups.
EcoFarm will be the first agribusiness incubator in Armenia. The agribusiness start-ups incubated at EcoFarm will incorporate components of high-tech farming, organic farming or biodynamic farming.
The EcoFarm School will also serve the needs of younger students. There will be educational facilities for young children to spend their day learning about nature and the environment and experiencing life on an eco-friendly farm with small animals, gardens and orchards. Families will be able to bring their children after school and on weekends to participate in farm activities and learn environmentally friendly agriculture techniques.
“EcoFarm will provide an opportunity for active farming work minutes away from downtown Yerevan,” explained ICARE executive director Artur Grigoryan. “You can bring your kids to a farm where they can interact with small animals, water their own lettuce plants, harvest their own melon, and pick apricots or blueberries. Is there any better gift for a kid that a caring parent can make? EcoFarm will be exactly this facility!”
The EcoFarm School is in the early stages of development and hopes to be operating by spring 2020. The School will be named after the distinguished author and human rights activist Zabel Yessayan who grew up in Constantinople and moved to Soviet Armenia in the 1930s where she taught literature at Yerevan State University. Yessayan described the gardens of her childhood in her moving memoir The Gardens of Silihdar. “In that garden, royal apricot trees offered me their golden fruit. Blooming rose bushes anointed my childhood with their sweet fragrance…”
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Let’s nurture the minds of the Armenian youth in understanding and appreciating nature and incubating environmentally friendly agri-business startups.