And we decided to get in, fully…..not to analyse and theorise rather practice farming in fields, with people who actually do farming and actually grow food.
Continued from "Starting from Zero: Avoiding Pitfalls on The Organic Farming Journey at Sanesa Yourganic" 27th Oct 2023.
All said, farming, nature, greenery and all other imagery was still exciting us and we decided that we will start a farm and learn firsthand about farming. If we wanted to finance farmers in one way or other, we thought that we must know farming inside out and only way to do that is get down to it. We had already quit our jobs and were looking to get started. And we had also bumped into a couple of organic farmers during our various visits. Organic farming felt just like a nice thing to do. One thing led to another and we ended up with farm land of 22 acres and from virtually no idea of farming to start of farm produce sales in a space of 6 months or so. Figure 1: This is a pic of one of the first seeds to sprout at our farm Our initial daysof farming are amongst our fondest memories, hilarious and foolish too. Our neighbours at farm were genuinely concerned about us. Most felt that we were mad as we kept 5-6 acres as vacant land for the entire season. In fact, one of our fields was first cultivated after almost 10 months of being vacant so they had good reasons to speculate. When we persisted into second year, their assessment moved to we being stupid as we saw hope in farming. Later, there were bets on us being able to last beyond this season and then beyond this year. But we have stayed, grown the farm to 35 acres, learnt a lot and built the most diverse farm in our neighborhood. Forget many small things, we have successfully nurtured Elaichi Banana plants at farm though we were warned that these wont take kindly to frosty winters that we have in North. In fact, we decided to attempt only when someone said, “you cant”. This year in April, when we had few of these bananas ourselves, it is possible that these bananas may have felt sweeter to us than they really were. The sense of achievement must have added. We have grown or attempted to grow almost every vegetable and salad item. We love experimenting with varieties so in one season we had sown 16 varieties of tomatoes, 3 varieties of broccoli, then more than 20 varieties of brinjal at a later one and so on. Mostly, we have failed to produce more than one or two varieties beyond the commercial scale but we are hopeful that one day, not far in future, we will show you that poor bhindi also is of many types and it need not be short and thin to be good. There are varieties of bhindi that are thick and long and tasty. Ditto for brinjal, beans, lauki, tori and anything you define as household vegetable. We have grown multiple varieties of rice, wheat and other pulses and sugarcane. And few crops that not grown at all in our area like peanuts and sesame were attempted for two to three seasons before agreeing with conventional wisdom (for now). From not even knowing the right season for many crops to where we have reached today, it has been a fulfilling journey. We are glad that we decided to farm ourselves and this is one thing we feel quite sure that we will continue to be farmers for life.