Monday, May 17, 2010

The joy of growing your own food

Greetings from "My Right to Safe Food"

I am still here, allow me to fill you in for this short bout of silence. You will agree that raising concerns about the assault in our food chain is just not enough but implementing and executing safe natural food production techniques in our fields is the need of the hour. So I have been at it....

The joy of growing my own food and then having the luxury to pick my choice each day is a dream for many. And then to have the aroma of cooking nature's farm fresh produce delicately prepared and sharing is energising in itself. Trust me its arms reach, not a colossal task. Like i have always said "home gardening and farming is no rocket science". If i can do it, so can you. Just start.

Have you ever wondered how a forest continues to remain so green, lush, aromatic consistently supplying rich abundance to its residents? Yes, provided it is untouched by the one and only greedy species called the Human Race.

Apply the same principle of a forest to your fields or kitchen garden and watch the magic of abundance reap nutritional diversity. The forest does it off its own accord, it did not need the human touch. Nature's diversity of leaves and fruits( bio mass) drop, animals wander leaving their excreta and footprints which gradually aid the biomass to decompose leaving the soil rich and nourished.

How, I sincerely wish the human race can understand this simple logic and not complicate this eco science - "When the soil is nurtured, infused with the right amount of natural nutrients with no manipulation, seeds germinate so healthy only to provide abundance of fruits". This rationale applied by our Vedic agricultural sciences spanning for over 15,000 years was a proof in itself, yet we have discarded this valuable science all in the name of "New technological progress in Science". Progress in science has to be in harmony with nature but not at her expense out to destroy her very existence. Rather every time we take from her, help rejuvenate her.

It is a National shame to be losing such a rich heritage of science only because a callous attitude exists amidst consumers. Majority do not have the time or wish to find out the origin of their food chain!!! You are made to believe in the science of the intense corrosive green revolution techniques of chemicals and pesticides to generate your food without questioning it. So you blindly follow and not challenge agriculturists nor the government nor industry for getting away by providing you pesticide laden food. Then on top of it, you now wish to believe that an infant science like Genetic engineering in our food chain, one filled with lethal toxins - insecticides and herbicides is the answer to our food security. You think its some one else's problem not yours to produce food but the least you can do is stand up for your right to safe food to prevent living in a sick society.

Who says organic does not yield high? Seeing is believing, so look at the images attached, they are not from the National Geographic, neither are they ornamental! This biodiversity is purposely being kept away from you and you do not even know! High in nutritional value but not out of reach. Explore and you will find. Right here, grown in our small farms across India. Hope they whet your appetite and inspire you to start. A single plant can yield so much fruit? Yes, it is true and that too without any pest attacks. Why, because "soil and seeds are sacred to us'". Most important we are not greedy and care for what we eat, nothing is wasted. We save OP organic seeds, make them available and the flesh of fruits recycled and transformed to conserves, jams, pickles and more.... and the excess food crop sold to closest retail organic stores to avoid carbon foot prints.

Unfortunately farmers and agriculture institutes are instilled and so habituated to pumping and applying massive amounts of chemicals to extract every ounce from the soil and believe that there is no other alternative. Thanks to our faulty agriculture policies and education systems. Worse still how the greed and profit driven industry is allowed to acquire biodiversity and nature's resources like as if it were their birth right. Wake up and think again. This heritage is yours too.

Like I always say in my sessions to the varied audience - marginal farmers, agriculturists, environmentalists, students, doctors and scientists " The soil is symbolic of an expectant mother and the seed is symbolic of a child". Nurture the mother as in the soil, and enrich her with balanced nutrients starting with crop rotation. And after each crop give her a booster by broadcasting green manuring techniques. Application of diverse legumes are nothing but green manuring techniques. So a diversity of legumes like cow pea, sun hemp, dencha, chickpea, beans and perhaps a millet like ragi, all mixed in equal portions can be sowed either on your raised bed or fields or kitchen garden. The various micro and phyto nutrients and minerals it brings with it to the soil is just incredible. Now, how simple is that? Let this grow for 20 days days, prior flowering cut the greens with the roots intact, mulch with a dash of spray of panchkavya and Effective micro organisms (EM) so as to hasten the process of decomposition. The microbial activity at work in the soil is rapid and that too free of cost! Smell your soil thereafter.....Divine.

Time and again each day I witness the nostalgia of many visitors who visit my farm after seeing the diversity of fruits and their yields.. I insist that they feel and smell the soil in their palms of their hands and taste the fruit only to say " Vow...smells like the rich forest soil, this is what i grew up in, this brings back a wave of memories". Do not stash this away as only a memory, it us up to you to revive and safeguard it for keeps.

In solidarity

Sangita Sharma

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