These schoolchildren from the rural community of Cartinha in Brazil, have just enjoyed a picnic lunch by the Rio de Onda on the Milano coffee plantation, where they’ve just been learning about the importance of water conservation from Olam’s agronomists.

This was part of a field trip designed, not only as an opportunity for the children to visit the workplace of their parents and other family members, but as an environmental education.

Through informal conversations on ecology and practical activities, the children learned about the interplay between the land, water and forests on the plantation, and their livelihoods; that their use of these natural resources must be balanced with conservation to continue providing their community with essential food, clean water and incomes. They were also given plants for their school.

Enjoying the picnic, 7-year-year old Isadora said: “I’m very happy, nobody ever gave anything to our school, nor took us for a picnic, hopefully you let us come back to the farm more often. We will take great care of the plants in our playground.”

The idea is that providing this education now, will increase the willingness of the future generation of coffee farmers to better protect and care for the natural resources they and their communities depend on.