Time we Grow Our Own Food

My mother-in-law’s father was a farmer, he grew all his food supplies like vegetables, rice, and fruits on his own farm. He had a pond full of fishes and a small poultry that provided for eggs and chicken. He had cows and goats that supplied milk. He also had a small khacchi ghanni to grind mustard oil from mustard. They went to the market only to buy salt and wheat. They never had sugar and always used jaggery that they made themselves during the winter months and stored and used all through the year.

He and his wife used to spend the whole day growing their own food. I was fortunate enough to meet his wife after my marriage. She told me stories of how backbreaking work she did to grow those foods. She also had nine kids to look after. It was not easy but the best part is she never had to depend on anyone else for her food. She never had to consume pesticide laden fruits or processed food that are risky and low on nutrition.

During the lockdown, I realized that it is time we probably also should start not depending on others for our food. However, things are easily said than done. Many of our generation are actually giving up their corporate jobs and starting organic farming but that is not so easy. I do harbor a dream of going back to basics and probably start living a more sustainable life.

We live in an apartment so there is space constraint but we still grow few plants that meet a few of our food requirements on our balcony garden. This papaya tree we grew inside our apartment complex. Four years back my husband got dengue. Many others in our society were also simultaneously affected by dengue. All of use were desperately looking for papaya leaves. There was only one papaya plant in our society and everybody was taking leaf from it making it bare. We realized the importance and after he got better sowed seeds of papaya and now this is the outcome.

Linking this to Parul’s Thursday Tree Love.

23 thoughts on “Time we Grow Our Own Food

  1. neelstoria says:

    Space is the main constraint. Also, there isn’t enough land for everyone to think of an organic garden or farmland. Though many people grow tomatoes, chilles in their balcony pots. People are also growing microgreens in their kitchen. I am yet to try any of these, though I love gardening. We have a kitchen garden in our home in Shillong where my father grows lemons, chillie, pomegranate, plums, pumpkin, corn, chayote, etc. I haven’t bought lemons from the market for the past 6 months. A tree in our apartment is supplying in plenty.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Todd says:

        That’s great! When we had an apartment in a different neighbourhood I briefly had a garden on a garage roof that was really wonderful. Not enough to live on but certainly enough to supplement our diet with fresh foods. I’d also pick fruit from people’s yards who didn’t want to maintain their trees (or our own grapes that grew there) and make jams and jellies for the winter.

        Food independence in the city here is virtually impossible. Our growing season is only from May-October and only certain things grow here. Try to plant too early or grow too late and a frost will come and kill the plants. Not all apartments have balcony/terrace space (we don’t) and many live in basements without even enough light to grow more than a houseplant or two. Before industrial agriculture, there were many more farmer’s markets and vegetable sellers and so many greenhouses in the city to grow things year round. But now to be independent, you need enough land to grow enough to feed yourself while things are growing and pickle/can/preserve more for the winter. It *can* be done, but most urban homesteaders aren’t there yet.

        Which doesn’t mean we can do nothing – there are some community gardens where you can get a small plot though often there’s a long wait-list for that. Outside the city we do have a number of farms and they do bring things in to farmer’s markets just about every day of the week.

        Fascinating info about using papaya to treat Dengue – I hadn’t heard of that and ended up going down an Internet rabbit hole looking at all that. Fascinating!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. krish says:

    Space is a constraint in the apartments …but yes we can go for limited terrace gardening and get some green veggies which can suffice for a small family….requires lot of care ..today the pandemic has given us that time but tomorrow as lockdown gets further relaxed we will have to manage our time to make the kitchen garden remain green..

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Anjana says:

    I enjoyed reading your family story. The contentment and happiness one feels when harvesting their own produce is ultimate. They were really blessed and lucky family i must say to be so self-reliant. Papaya tree reminded me of my granny’s house in Bengaluru. We had a decent space around the house and my granddad grew 3 coconut trees, guava, grapefruit, curry leaves, varieties of flowers, papaya tree etc. We also had one coffee plant, goose berry and a massive creeper of beetel leaves. It was such wonderful memory to spend my summer hols in my granny’s place. Your post brought back all those nostalgic visions. Thank you. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Parul Thakur says:

    This is a heart warming story. Stories from families are my favorite. And apartment complexes are hard to see a lot of green with all the buildings around.
    Good you started a bit of it. Any little thing is good. Thank you for joining with this Papaya tree. I hope to see you on back on the 23rd.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Alana Mautone (@RamblinGarden) says:

    I grew up in New York City, and still have family there. During our lockdown I spoke almost weekly with a cousin who lives in a small NYC house with basically a concrete back yard. Many people in New York City live in apartments, though, and many of them don’t have balconies. Despite all the interest in growing food they developed during March and April, it would be hard. But not impossible. We wouldn’t have papaya (not hardy here) but there are blueberry bushes that can be grown in pots, and maybe even dwarf apples. The papaya is an interesting tree with the way the fruit bunch like that.

    Liked by 1 person

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