Nanjammal, an 85-year-old, dwelling in Thoppampatti Poonga Nagar, Coimbatore, begins her day by checking the vegetation in her residence backyard. After her morning routine, she heads to a number of homes in her village to analyse the expansion of the vegetation in every of their gardens.
She is answerable for greater than 160 vegetable gardens in two villages in her locality.
She evokes folks to plant extra and gives steerage all via. And although her well being is worsening, she finds the time and vitality to take pleasure in farming actions.
Because the age of seven, Nanjammal has labored within the fields along with her household. She raised three kids by farming on a one-acre land handed over to her by her in-laws.
She says she is proficient in all types of farming, together with paddy. And for that purpose, the villagers endearingly name her ‘kaigari paati’ (vegetable grandma). She says, “Farming is a good way to achieve self-reliance, particularly after retirement. It retains the physique and thoughts wholesome.”
Nanjammal’s land round her home is crammed with various kinds of timber, vegetation, vines of greens and fruits. On daily basis, she cooks meals utilizing the farm recent greens from her backyard. There are greater than 17 vegetable varieties right here, together with chillies, tomatoes, brinjals, gourds, zucchinis and drumsticks, together with fruit timber like guavas, papayas and mangoes.
Moreover, from fertilisers to insect repellants, each farming product is ready by this gritty senior citizen.
With the assist of her son Bharathi Chinnasamy, Nanjammal helps two neighbouring villages with seedlings and steerage required for vegetable farming.
A kitchen backyard in each residence
Bharathi is a agency believer in Gandhi’s ideology and believes that each one villages must be self-reliant. To achieve this objective, he has been working with a self-help group for the previous 12 years. 5 years in the past, Nanjammal additionally joined her son within the trigger and her thought was to make villages self-sufficient within the matter of vegetable farming.
“Six years in the past, my son began distributing free vegetable seeds to villagers to encourage them to farm. However just a few took the hassle to develop them. Bharathi understood that the mission was a failure however he purchased one other set of seeds to distribute. I took all of the seeds and turned them into saplings and these got to 37 households in our village,” explains Nanjammal.
She didn’t cease there. As soon as in 4 days, she visited every home to test the expansion of the saplings. “If I spot pests, a biopesticide is made out of neem and jackfruit to be sprayed on them. I would offer the households with natural fertilisers too,” she provides. Initially, folks have been puzzled about her acts. However quickly, they began coming seeking Bharathi to get seeds and saplings. After Thoppampatti, Nanjammal additionally began this initiative in her ancestral village, Anyapalayam in Erode district.
Bharathi says, “My mom believes that each household in India ought to develop their very own greens. So she helps every household within the village to arrange their kitchen gardens. Nothing will cease her.”
He provides, “Since we misplaced our father at a younger age, it was her and her farming that sustained our livelihood. I’ve by no means seen her sitting idle even at this age. She is ever-ready to farm.”
Nanjammal used to go to Anyapalayam twice every week to test the vegetation and resolve the doubts of gardeners throughout the preliminary days. Now since her well being is worsening, a lot of the actions are managed by Bharathi alone. “After gardens of particular person homes, we began utilizing the general public areas of the village to plant greens and fruit timber. We additionally defined to many households that they might do related actions and make use of public areas. Many households have already began this initiative,” says Bharathi, who conducts courses in colleges and faculties concerning the significance of self-help teams and beginning a kitchen backyard.
By a collective effort, the mother-son duo has been profitable in implementing kitchen gardens in 10 villages of Coimbatore.
“Two years in the past, with the self-help group we submitted a petition to the federal government to arrange personal and group vegetable gardens in each village beneath the Mahatma Gandhi Nationwide Rural Employment Assure Scheme (MGNREGA) scheme. This could have offered employment to the labourer, together with selling natural produce. However there was no reply from the federal government so we began doing it ourselves,” says Bharathi.
The duo is completely happy that extra folks, particularly kids, are keen to be a part of their mission. They hope to proceed gardening and farming to make rural India self-sufficient.
Learn the story in Hindi right here.
Edited by Yoshita Rao
Picture Credit: Bharathi Chinnaswamy