There are many hot debates, awareness, pros and cons of genetically modified food, chemical-prone farming doing the rounds of national news. On the contrary there are also people who are propagating an idea that produces healthy food for your family- devoid of chemicals, urea and non-modified, natural food.
From Palace to Peasants
“I wish no Indian household had to eat poison and urea. It is a heinous crime to play with human life,” says Yogita Sharan Singh. She is an MA in Economics, a journalist-turned-editor of a newspaper in Bhopal. A young blood from Chattisgarh, Yogita stumbled upon a natural farming booklet. Driven by interest, she did immense research, followed by an experiment in her terrace garden. “The experiment was successful. I felt an intense need to take responsibility. My interest dwells in uplifting the farmers of India,” says Yogita, who belongs to a family of royal lineage.
Yogita found her calling in natural farming. It was 2010 when she came across the Zero Budget Natural Farming (ZBNF is a course for farmers on techniques of natural farming that involve minimal to no expense) course. “I got associated with it and I had my own hardships to push this project to spearhead the agricultural sector,” she asserts.
She wanted to make this course better and also give farmers the much-needed relief at the mental level. “I initiated the inclusion of the life-changing Sudarshan Kriya (a breathing technique) in the ZBNF course. It is very important to have these farmers in the remote areas throw off the stress, pressure, and worries and simultaneously gain the confidence, strength, and clarity to adopt this new way of living, both personally and professionally.”
“The farmers have gone through such hardships that it is nearly impossible to get their broken trust restored. They needed something as powerful as Sudarshan Kriya; it has just revived their enthusiasm and zeal towards life, towards farming,” she shares.
The ZBNF course is designed especially for the farmers to learn new farming techniques. The agriculture sector faced immense losses after the suicides; even the young generation of the traditional farming families were opting to leave their villages to look for better jobs in big cities. It became difficult for the team to gather the momentum initially. “Natural farming has minimal expenses. The course itself is very convincing for the farmers. Right at the outset, the farmers agreed that they were disinterested in undertaking any sort of chemical farming, and that they were just hopeless and had no other option,” she says.
On Farms for a Healthy Nation
Farmers are not seekers; they are givers. They just need a hand on their shoulders for support. All they expect is appreciation in terms of honest returns from the market for their daily bread, education for their children, and of course acceptance of their natural farming products,” she adds. She adds sternly that support from city dwellers to discard the use of polythene bags and cow slaughter to protect desi cows (Bos Indicus) is a priority.
“My vision is that the entire India should get food that is reasonable and grown without the use of any poison. Also, I want city residents to learn about the most primary of occupations—that which gives us our food—farming. It has to be balanced; the benefits have to be shared 50-50 between both villagers and city dwellers. Presently, the farmers do not get their dues. People in big cities should be aware of these things and they should know what they are eating,” she explains. Yogita thinks that with rising awareness, this transformation will be the next big thing. The aim of propagating this knowledge is not to come out with high-cost food for the masses of the country. She says, “this is an era of ever-rising inflation; we cannot afford to feed rice at unreasonable prices.”
She is just a volunteer, but spearheads the arrangement of courses for farmers and activities to spread awareness among the masses of cities and villages alike. “They (farmers) have lost their path, but I am here with my team and my inspiration, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, to revive our long lost golden era of farming. Within two years, my interest has made me a strong volunteer that can deal with any situation... Jitne shabd bolungi, utne pure karungi (I will fulfill all I say),” she signs off.
1 - Betul, Guna, Devas, Bemetara, Damoh, Indore, Suhagpur, and Bhopal are the seven places they reached. Over 1,000 farmers underwent the course, out of which more than 650 are happily practicing the new technique
2 - In barely a year, 10 ZBNF courses were conducted in Madhya Pradesh and Chattisgarh.
Written by Monica Patel
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