Grow your own carrots…. I love the lyrical ring of this topic, almost like I am preparing to launch out into a HR motivational blog post;)
The other day, I saw a mail in my inbox about a course the Agriculture Department of Goa was to conduct in my village, on how people could grow their own vegetable garden, and it really got me thinking.
Really, they are now teaching and encouraging people to grow their own vegetables! Wow, there was a time when everyone grew their own vegetables. In the monsoons, when the water was plentiful, what a delight to work in the garden, putting mud to hold up the little shoots of Lady Finger. Put sticks to lead the pumpkin creeper up on to the roof, build a little lean-to for the cucumber creeper, we looked forward to the bitter gourd, tomatoes and chilies. If the heavy rain washed the plants away, we would plant them all over again. We competed to see how big the soup plan leaves would grow, and we each had our pet plants.
Looking back, I think that time in the garden taught us a lot about nurturing, growing, loving nature, being self-reliant, dirtying our hands, experiencing joy in physical labour, enjoying the fruit of labour, respecting the activity of food creation and food itself. Our parents worked by us, wordlessly teaching us all this, filling pans with manure, gently feeding it to plants, watching out for caterpillars and ensuring they didn’t eat up the fledgling plants, learning that the earthworms where good and nitrated the soil. And when the vegetables grew in profusion, we plucked them all with great pride, ate hearty meals, shared the extra vegetables with our neighbors and brought about a sense of goodwill.
We may not acknowledge it, but plants have a lot to offer us, and if you have played Farmville, it has loads to offer you. I still remember, how some of my colleagues in the middle of their crazy work schedule, set alarms so they could go water plants, harvest their crops, sells them for money that would buy seed. After trying it for some time, I thought it was silly, this simulated, computer game. But Farmville probably became a huge hit because it fulfilled a need – a need to nurture, care and watch life take root and grow. You don’t have to be ‘virtual’ about your needs any more, make it real with a pot on your veranda.
In a time when the cost of food is spiraling, a small patch of vegetables or a few pots on your balcony is a fantastic idea. Vegetable gardens were key to urban sustainability in Cuba and it’s a concept worth replicating. Looking deeper, I think a few vegetable laden pots would be a good way to add green fauna in a city that is constantly getting denuded. If you are lonely, I suspect, plants would make super cool companions too.
In a time when children no longer have parks to play in and hardly have any contact with nature, here is your opportunity to bring a little bit of green, back in their life and yours. No matter how small a place you live in, there is always place for a pot or two. How about throwing in a few chilly seeds? We gift our kid’s puppies and birds, how about gifting them a pot and a few seeds of flowers and vegetables.
Are you ready to grow your own carrots, chillies, cucumbers, pumpkins…. ?