“As you start to walk on the way, the way appears.” At the beginning of the year when we started the journey of bon we only had a dream to reconnect people with nature using food as a tool. We were unsure how it will unfold. By the end of the year, we realize we want to transform the landscape around human habitats to create forests that primarily produce food. This will be our tool to rebuild this lost connection between man and nature! Welcome to our fourth quarterly newsletter of 2022.
Ankur: In this project, our goal is to help five families to grow some vegetables from their own gardens. We have managed to grow spinach, fenugreek, radish, mustard, potatoes, tomatoes, onion, amaranth, etc. Our biggest challenges in the projects have been putting enough organic matter in the soil and in some families protecting the crop from chickens who scratch the beds often. However, some of our gardens attracted a lot of insects. This once again showed us when we create habitat beneficial organisms will come on their own.
Urja: In our second project we wanted to bring five young children together to create a “community garden”. After the initial interest from the children, it dropped. However, Ankan who is a fifth-standard child is very consistent in his effort. So, we are working with him to create a small vegetable patch in his family’s backyard.
Bapi Sing: Bapi is a 23-year-old local tribal man with less than an acre of total land holding. We hired him to prepare our raised beds. While making these beds he became extremely efficient in the process and wanted to be part of our project. Now he is working with us and creating a model garden in his home. He is a very self-driven and hard-working person. We have a feeling he is going to play a key role in our future projects and be a part of our core team.
Ankan Barik: We already mentioned Ankan above. He got interested in growing food from his grandmother. He is a very inquisitive child with a lot of enthusiasm for growing plants. He prepared his own vegetable bed with the help of his father and grandparents. We supplied him with seeds and plants. According to his grandparents, Ankan takes responsibility to take of the garden. Every day after coming from school he waters his vegetable beds before going to play. We are over overjoyed when we hear such little changes in a child’s behaviour that we are working with.
Suvendhu Das: Suvendhu is a core team member of bon who works as a garden manager. He is from our village and has a passion for farming. In the month of November, he went to attend a Farmer’s conference in Mysore. This was the first time when Suvendhu was visiting such a conference. This exposure helped him a great deal and take more ownership of what he does. It is very motivating to find that bon is helping youth like Suvendhu to instigate a sense of purpose at a time when many young people are clueless about life.
Our collaboration with Dularia continues. We have made progress to make a nutrition garden. We are also working to organize a workshop together to inspire people to start growing their own food.
Recently we visited our neighboring state Jharkhand where a group of two young people started a similar grassroots movement called Urveera to promote regenerative agriculture in the community. It is always encouraging to find our own tribe as this gives us the opportunity to expand our community and the possibility to work together. One interesting fact about Urveera is that they want to shift to a gift economy-based culture. We are very keen to learn from this experience.
Ms. Swetcha Poladi has donated generously which made it possible for our team member Suvendhu to attend the Farmer’s meet conference.