Visiting farmers, having conversations, watching the beautiful paddy fields, seeing the back breaking work, the rich organic soils, being shown their precious earthworms, the unexpected sights like a lotus pond in the middle arid rocky land are all inextricable pieces of a sustainable agriculture and food system.
One can hear hope on one hand despair on the other, the fear that there will not be the young to take on this arduous task. Yet instances of farming families who are encouraging their young to learn to farm along with their formal education, women who have learnt everything from banking to intervening in issues affecting the community...
The stories and feelings are as diverse as the varieties being cultivated .Yet the fear of climate change, the increasing unpredictability of rains casts a pall over many a conversation... Most of the farmers were waiting for the rains to arrive to transplant the nurseries.
The fields of Thuyamalli, Jeeraga Samba, Thanga Samba standing witness to fears & hopes
And then there was the Kanji
The day started with a simple red rice kanji made with broken Mappilai Samba rice , simply cooked into a gruel with shallots, ginger, garlic and salt garnished with coriander leaves. Rich, red, easy to eat this gruel kept us going while going through fields , bearing the sun, keeping us full of energy and satiated.
Rice gruel was a traditional food in rice cultivating belts which is now being taken over by tea shops, tea and snacks , destroying the health of the farm workers . The lack of stamina and poor health rising along with consumption of junk foods ..
From farming to food to climate...