I wasn’t going to include a post on our trip since its not exactly an event or happening at the farm, but the impact the trip had on me will inevitably shape the farm into the future. You can’t travel nearly across the world and not be deeply impacted emotionally, spiritually and intellectually.
We decided to embark on this journey because one of my dearest friends, Maya and her then finance, Sankarshin, decided to get hitched in India. We knew that we had to go no matter what we had to do to get there (take on some additional debt as it happens…). Its not often (or ever) that you have the chance to be a witness to a friend’s marriage in a foreign land…
One of the most moving experiences I absorbed in my short time in India was of farmers tending their fields with oxen driven plows. Farmers are still predominately using hand tools and draft animals to produce crops! I was only able to see this from our car on the way to Mysore, so didn’t get a chance to actually walk a farm or talk to a farmer. We passed many small (equal to our scale-2 acres) veg farms along with sugar cane, palm, rice. Someday I hope to go back to learn from biodynamic and organic farmers there that have been keeping traditional ways of farming vibrant. I’ve since wondered if it would be feasable to use oxen as draft animals on our farm rather than draft horses???
There are so many things to think/talk/write about in terms of India and food and agriculture. Let me just say clearly that the food is incredible. We ate so well and for every meal. Every restaurant cooks from scratch. There is no GFS to be found. Fragrant spices, vegetables, grains and oils in seemingly endless combinations. It is a vegetarians’ paridise.
Another lingering impression for me was the connection India still seems to have with the land. I know this is likely a gross exaggeration but one still can’t help but notice cows wandering the city during the day and the occasional goat. What would it say about our priorities as a people in the U.S. if we let city folks keep chickens or even bees?! It seems like a self-evident truth that people should be able to keep livestock even in the city in India. Farmers also set up small wheeled carts on busy roads with fresh vegetables (the ultimate fast food). I wonder if we even saw imported food while we were there? In many ways the small locally owned shops, local fresh foods, multiple small farms…is my vision and hope for the future of Michigan and the U.S..