Dai Majhi of Simelpadar village of Karlapat GP in Thuamul Rampur block has spared about 10 decimals of land in front of her house to cultivate vegetables, as many as seventeen varieties. The crops include carrot, Palak, tomato, brinjal, different types of guards (like ridge and bitter), pumpkin, cucumber, coriander, methi, kalam, and various other green leaves. The plants are healthy and there is no use of chemical fertilizer or pesticide. She knows how to prepare the pest repellent mixing jaggery, pea flour (beshan), soil of ant hill and cow dung with urine of the cow, and to apply those at times of needs. She takes much interest to narrate about this small garden and says that “It is only for consumption. When the brothers of Living Farms approached us with the idea of Pushti Bagicha, I did not believe that such a small plot of land would provide vegetables every day. We discussed at home and decided to take a chance. After all it is a small plot of land and the labour requirement is much less compared to the work done for cultivation of paddy, ragi or kating”.
They prepared five soil beds and Dai explains that the germination of the seeds was good and encouraging but, heavy rain destroyed everything. On receiving more seeds from Living farms team during beginning of winter, they used cow dung, to prepare manure to apply in the soil, and whenever they saw the leaves crumbling or holes in leaves, they knew that it was time to sprinkle Amrut Pani to fight the pest. This is the method to keep the plant healthy.
Dai on asking if she was going sell this produce explained, “We have decided that the products of the nutrition garden are not for sale. This is for my children, me and my family members. I don’t go to market with any product because I don’t understand market. I will not sell any product of my nutrition garden to any trader approaching me even at home. What is the value of Rs.10 or Rs.20 if I get it by selling the product of my garden? Will you sell your food by depriving the belly.”
“We are eating the vegetables regularly now. Today we have a mixed curry of Kumuda sag (pumpkin leaves) with Janhi and Lau (guards) and Mandia Jau (Ragi porridge) in lunch, last night, we had Mula sag (Reddish leaves), Kating and Dhan Bhat (Rice) in dinner.” Chhinu Majhi, husband of Dai interrupts in the middle and says, “Some of these are new addition to our food intake. We never cultivated carrot, palak, methi and kalam leaves etc. Our children are also eating those happily.