Our ninth entry is from, Aakriti Krishnan who is studying in class 8 at the Hyderabad Public School in India. Find out how visiting a farm changed her perspective on interdependency!
Interdependency: It is something we come across in our daily life. For everything we do depends on so many people that it is quite astonishing. For instance, even to have a simple meal of Dal and rice, we require the farmer. The farmer depends on the people who bring him fertilizers, people who work on his farm, people who provide water and irrigation facilities and even the person who gives him simple advice on how to produce more crops and keep them infection free. The farmer also depends on insects and animals, like the earthworm and the cows to make the soil fertile. Even if one of these people or animals fails in doing their tasks, it affects us. Many people are unaware of this interdependency and take it for granted. In fact, even I was one of these people, who took things for granted before I visited a farm.
It was a lovely Sunday morning. The weather was pleasant, and our family had planned a visit to a paddy farm. The farm belonged to my father’s friend Mr. Praveen Kumar whom we call ‘Praveen Uncle’. We (my parents, sister, uncle and me) left for the farm around 10 in the morning. We reached the farm around 11 am. It was a beautiful view from the entrance of the farm. There was a small vegetable patch near the entrance and huge paddy fields that didn’t seem to end, lay ahead! We started our small ‘adventure’ with the lush green organic paddy fields. Praveen Uncle’s farm is special in its own way; it is organic and gets all its water supply from a humongous well.
Uncle explained how the paddy was planted and the small difficulties the other farmers and he faced during the process. Some of this produce was very thick and productive, but some had not grown to its full capacity. The ever changing season also had a major role to play – in the outcome of these fields. The small path was lined with beautiful marigold bushes. We proceeded towards the huge well. Actually from the outside, it looked like a tick dense forest. This was a really old well which had in fact been covered for a few years. The well also had a healthy family of turtles living inside, as Praveen uncle told us. The last few days had been pretty wet so the well was filling up fast. We headed down a rough slope almost slipping here and there and finally managed to reach the edge of the well. Oh! Its diameter was unbelievable, my first experience of seeing a conventional well! We found some earthworm pellets here and there. The place had not been tampered with and was as natural as possible. We stayed for a while at the well watching the turtles enjoy a good swim on a sunny afternoon, and left to see the compost heaps.
Praveen Uncle explained that they did not waste any material on the farm. They made the compost and used it to make the soil more fertile. They first add 6 inches of organic plant material and then add another 6 inches of cow dung. They use this process and make heaps that are almost 3-5 feet tall. They also place two sticks in this pile to ensure passage of air and also reduce the heat generated. In about 6-7 weeks they get good manure made by aerobic bacteria. We also saw few vegetable beds that had lots of green leafy vegetables and lots of bean varieties. Drip irrigation technique was used for these beds. We were slightly tired, so we decided to head back. On the way we walked through slushy mud, and picked a few custard apples from the tree. We also spotted a guava tree. Finally we reached our car and we had some snacks that included a custard apple and coconut water that we bought on the way to the farm. After refreshing ourselves we went to see the other vegetable patch. We saw tomatoes that were almost ripe, bottle gourd ready to be picked, sweet potatoes that had just flowered and the “Dosakai” which is a local name for a round, yellow type of cucumber found in Andhra Pradesh. We had explored most of the farm except the far away paddy fields and coconut trees that lined the edge of the farm. Our stomachs were growling, so we ended our lovely visit with a sumptuous meal at Prakriti resorts, that was a 2 minute drive from the farm.
This visit has taught me a lot of things, some I never knew some I knew but never really bothered learning about. Since Praveen uncle is practicing organic farming, he is trying to be self sufficient. He does not depend on anybody to bring him fertilizers, but he depends on bacteria, earthworms and cows to make compost and natural fertilisers. Organic farming is an excellent way of using the waste available on the farm, and the materials required will never run out. Even the method of composting used on the farm with aerobic bacteria is found everywhere. Wild plants in fact depend on dung of animals, earthworms and bacteria to grow. Thus there is natural interdependency. My dad’s friend has learnt to run a farm based on this very same interdependency. This visit has made me think deeply about how we can use simple interdependency in nature to meet our needs, rather than depend on artificial materials. This is “THE WAY FORWARD TO A GREEN EARTH WE CAN CREATE” which also indirectly helps us follow the 3Rs, commonly preached today – Reuse, Reduce and Recycle.