If someone had told me that farming would be what brings my loves and me together, I would not have believed it. I grew up in the city. What got me joy was the cartoon network after school and middle-grade books like Alice in wonderland. I imagined how I would grow up and become an illustrator and an author. I had built a rich world, both within and without, and I was content. Then the city girl grew up.
I went to university and did my undergraduate in environmental sustainability and Agroecosystems management. I fell in love with the simplified production of food, organic farming, and waste management in those four years. The discovery that one can just add simple nutrients to the earth and, in turn, would provide me with high-quality food and trees under whose shade I dig knowledge I gain knowledge was fascinating.
I remember visiting ‘Sylvia’s farm’ with my classmates. There, we sat in groups and told stories our mothers and fathers narrated to us about tending to small and large farms.
I listened intently to Sylvia narrate how she wanted to produce good food for her child and the community. I watched my friends roam around the garden in awe, asking, “can we pick this?” “How did you rear your rabbits?” “Isn’t it exciting watching the sun touch the green leaves in the morning?” Everyone was so in tune with each other, with nature.
From my experiences in class and in the field, I understood that Organic farming was not just saving the environment. It was rebuilding my life, opening me up to new loves.
I started to view organic farming from a different lens. It means building relations with yourself and the earth. Understanding and taking care to give back to the soil as much as it has given to you. Tending to its nutrients, using sustainable farming techniques, building human relationships, and enhancing the economic and social lives of everyone who interacts with the earth.
Organic farming calls for 3D interactions when applying manure, harvesting, crop rotation, and other techniques. We further need to understand the importance of protecting the earth and why our parents speak so passionately of their farming days and try to teach us the importance of ‘getting your hands dirty for the earth’s good.
While I still hold on to the desire to explore the world of literature, I believe it is also essential to take care of the environmental aesthetics, save the trees, heal the soils, tend to the wildlife, and feed on nutritious meals. Organic farming is the index finger pointing us towards a more sustainable environment.
Beth Odhil is a lover of literature and big trees with deep roots