For anyone living in the Western world, farm-to-table & organic farming have now become part of the daily colloquium with many revering the new trend in healthy eating with a cult-like following. Although still a relatively new concept, these practices have been in place in the East, especially India, since the early 15th century. Farm-to-table & Organic farming practices have been adopted deep within India’s agricultural ethos more of out necessity & ways of curbing costs vs. focus on health. It is not easy to feed a nation of 1B+ with limited use of GMOs & chemicals but overall, India has been successful in containing the widespread usage of these through structure economic & socio-political policies.
However, we are not here to talk about politics or the pros & cons of GMOs! We are here to peek into the day of a life of a Himalayan farmer – Anupratap
Waking up at the crack of dawn (~4:30 AM!), the first thing Anupratap does after freshening up, is grab his loyal plough & cattle and head straight to his vegetable farm where he grows everything from mangoes to cucumbers. Mango season is upon us and today is the day he has to begin sowing the seeds, manuring existing mango plants to make sure his efforts are paid off when the mango season begins in May.
He takes great pride by the fact that he doesn’t utilize any GMOs and lets nature do her thing in growing the vegetables. This is a great risk for a farmer to undertake, especially someone who has to feed a family of 5, but he is well aware of the negative impacts of such chemicals on Mother Nature which he cannot afford to scorn.
Upkeep of existing plants & laying the seeds for new ones, takes all of the morning. He is now visited by his family who brings over lunch which he then enjoys with them under the cool shade of an ancient banyan tree. After lunch its back to business- cultivating few more plants and checking on the irrigation system to make sure the trees, plants & young samplings are adequately nourished
I know a lot of what is written above sounds very flowery and doesn’t quite do the justice Anupratap & his family’s hard work deserve! So, here is an opportunity for you – would you like to work with Anupratap & be a farmer for a day? He will basically walk you through his farm, you will get to pick fruits, go back to his house and cook lunch with him & his family. After lunch, its going back on the farm, hulling the cattle and doing irrigation speck. Don’t worry; you won’t have to get in there at the crack of dawn! But this will be a great way of supporting & immersing yourself in a true local activity in India