We Become What We Eat, that’s why Sustainable Farming

What goes around, comes around is an age-old saying that a 10-year-old child, like Aijaz Akbar strongly believes. His eyes express calmness, and his silence speaks a lot more than he actually does. Aijaz is a 10-year-old child studying in Chandanwadi’s Thane Mahanagara Palika Shikshana Mandali. His father is a farmer who is struggling to strike a balance between his high expenses and low yields.

Aijaz helps his father in the daily farming activities in whatever little way he can. He wakes up early to help his father till the soil or stays on the fields till late evening to help in de-weeding. He is aware of the struggles that this father goes through. He spends all of his savings to buy chemical fertilizers and pesticides with the hope that he will be able to get better yields at least this year. 

On asking Aijaz where his interest lies and what he wants to become when he grows up, he whispers something inaudible. His friend Raju Khare hits playfully on his shoulder and asks him not to shy and talk loud. He then starts narrating a story he has experienced first-hand. 

He says that his father saves quite an amount every year. Rather than spending it either on himself or the house, he spends all his money on buying harmful chemicals and pesticides to keep insects away in the hope that he will get better yields. When it is harvest time, he gets disappointed with his yield. As an observation, he says that year after year, his yields are decreasing. He says, “I tell my father to start practising organic farming, but he is reluctant for some reason. I am not able to convince him as yet.”

He continues, “My father tells me - what we eat, we become.” This is why Aijaz wants to study well and educate people like his father about the ill-effects of using harmful chemicals and fertilizers. He strongly believes that organic and sustainable farming is how everyone can benefit. He talks about his ideas where he utilises the waste generated at his farm as manure and makes his own insect repellent solutions using vinegar and similar items. He says that it is difficult for him to talk to anybody in this age because of the lack of theoretical and practical knowledge. 

He continues to say something more, but the hesitation is very evident on his face. On probing him, he says “Abba asks me not to talk too much because others might dislike me for my religion.” His friend comes and pats on his shoulder as a gesture of assurance that there is no such thing, at least between them.

Immediately, he adds, “The scenario is different at school. I have many friends here and they all sit together to have lunch without any discrimination of caste or religion.” Cognizant of Aijaz’s emotions, Raju hints at his friends and they all gather around him as a support. The support was not just to provide emotional support to Aijaz, but to eliminate the concept of discrimination itself. Raju then shouts, “Apan sab yaar hai” (We are all friends) and headed straight to the lunch area where they share waves of laughter and goodness of the meals.

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