Organic vegetable gardens are cropping up in every corner of our headquarters in Amritapuri, India, following Amma’s words on the importance of avoiding chemically treated food wherever possible. From the rooftop terraces to the skinny alleys below, the clean greens are taking root.
Worldwide, the food we eat is getting less and less healthy – agricultural land has lost an average of 73% of its minerals and trace elements through soil erosion and depletion in the last hundred years, and that makes for fewer nutrients in our food. On top of that, pesticide residue found on much of the fruits and vegetables we buy in stores has been found to pose a potential cancer risk and may interfere with the hormonal and nervous systems. Our food has also become bad for the planet – much of the food we eat has been transported hundreds or thousands of miles before reaching our table. The use of farming machinery, production of agrochemicals, packaging and transport are all energy-intensive, contributing significantly to the emission of greenhouse gases and global warming.
Amma serves lunch to all of the residents at our headquarters on Tuesdays and for the last year it has been 100% organic. New crops of okra, tomatoes, pumpkin, beans, chilies, red spinach, eggplant, cabbage and onions – all lovingly grown without pesticides, are being featured in the meal. “Amma said to bring back the ancient culture of agriculture, which is organic,” said Br. Gurudas who is in charge of the project. “At Amritapuri, we started growing organic food for Amma’s Tuesday lunch.”
We now also operates a one-acre organic garden near Amritapuri, and have much larger farms in Kalady, Kerala and Komban, Tamil Nadu, which are already growing thousands of organic plantain, coconut, and banana trees, along with tapioca and numerous vegetables. “In the near future, we plan to provide all of the vegetables needed for serving food at Amritapuri–pure, organic food within one to two years’ time,” Br. Gurudas reported. Then he cheerfully added, “When Amma sees the organic vegetables that have been grown, she gets a big smile on her face.”
Amma recommends that everyone try to grow enough of their own vegetables so that at least once a month, they can eat food they grew themselves. By growing your own organic veggies, you can be sure that the food you eat is free from pesticides and that its natural healthy properties are intact. But ultimately, we care for nature not because the future of humanity is at stake, but because it’s the right thing to do. If we lose our inner feeling of being connected with nature, we start to exploit and thereby destroy her. Growing your own veggies is a wonderful way to re-establish this rich but forgotten relationship.