I want to share an experience with you all here. Mohanji, I call him Father. Father put the thought of growing fruits and vegetables for self sustainability in my head. Before meeting Father, I would complain a lot about plastic pollution etc but was never empowered enough to go all the way and do something about it.
I wasn’t sure if it would ever happen in this lifetime. To many it’s natural but to me, it felt like a distant dream. I was introduced to Aman Biradari- shelter homes through Smriti. Mohanji’s consciousness was already at work! And Ummeed was just the perfect space, open with a lot of land, bright children with a will to learn. When I told about my plans to everyone, no one believed it would happen now, and I faced many oppositions at the same time some rays of hope, yet in my spine I would feel this ‘push’ every day and night.
I didn’t believe in myself honestly, BUT I believed in Mohanji I felt His ‘push’ with me constantly and just left it to HIM. Then Deepali Maa encouraged me to ‘Take a leap of faith’ . She echoed Father’s words and said, ”Mohanji says that when there is a thought of seva, and when you walk the path of dharma, the entire existence will support you, Have the Faith”
Grace made me get in touch with the right people for this. When we gave the intention, suddenly there were volunteers, we got the funds. We had the intention of accommodating the boys into three age groups for three plant beds initially. We started with roughly 40 children. We didn’t know how to segregate the boys in age groups, but believe it or not, when we reached the second time, everyone segregated themselves into three groups, age wise, did all the digging, all the sowing on their own! I still remember clearly, I was in an auto rickshaw on my way back. I closed my eyes and prayed to Mohanji. ‘Please get me volunteers’. I opened my eyes to the ringing of the phone. An old friend called to ask me if I needed help with any seva activity! I was Speechless. Later she also got a friend along to volunteer.
On another day I had a hunch to go to Ummeed and shoot pictures of the kids. Then while the shoot was on, I was introduced to someone from TERI University who had set up a Bio-Gas Plant at Ummeed which complements our farming method totally. He was so in awe and wanted to start the project with us. He said, ‘This is orchestrated by God. It can’t just be a coincidence!’ Those were his very words. I kept smiling at him knowing the truth behind the words. It was ALL Mohanji.
Mohanji works at such subtle level in everyday situations that it is in fact very hard to notice. But without HIS grace, things would’ve been completely different.
Father always says that Seva keeps you pure. It takes away your separation and fears. It also changes those who volunteer with you. I didn’t understand it the first time I heard that because I thought we do seva only to help others. But during these months I have felt His words. I feel so light and I have seen so much change in the people who have volunteered. A remarkable liveliness has developed in all.
Mohanji’s consciousnesses cannot be understood by the mind but only Felt…… and we always feel it….in each seva activity. There is a definite joy in all of us including the children after few hours of physical work in the garden.. the food we eat after that, the tiredness of the body, the sleep, the oneness we feel, that blessed empty no-mind feeling..that consciousness… it’s worth it.
Honestly, everything is divinely orchestrated, this was already decided. Someone would have done it because the Masters have already decided! It was just us having Faith in our Guru to receive his grace, to be used as instruments of Mohanji’s grace is A HUGE BLESSING in this lifetime. GIVE, It’s Father who is giving through you, It’s HIM who is doing it, GIVE, even if it’s feeding a single Ant, it liberates you…
The Nanhe Kissan Team started the Natu-Eco (Natural and Ecological) Farming Project on the 8th of June, 2012 at Ummeed Aman Ghar, Behind Qutub Minar, New Delhi. Ummeed is a boys shelter Home for 100 plus former street children. Here, they are given a Home, a chance to get educated in a formal school and also to participate in extra-curricular activities which really shape their personality. ‘Nanhe Kissan’ , translated as ‘Little Farmers’ is one of those activities.
Natu-eco farming method is a biological process, which believes that no square foot of sun energy should be lost by not harvesting it biologically. The first step of Natueco Farming is to develop Amrit Mitti using neighbourhood resources like dry and green biomass, activated mineral topsoil and Amrut jal. Urban Leaves, Mumbai is playing a great role in bringing this form of farming back to the urban kitchen gardens and farms.
Mrs. Ritu Mathur from Upavan who got trained from Urban Leaves is training Ummeed kids. We all- kids and volunteers, find her sessions extremely informative and her method of teaching very natural, giving and allowing.
Natu-eco is a method of aping nature where we add nutrition to our soil by composting different types of plants in different stages of their life. Nature on it’s own takes 100- 500 years to develop 1inch of fertile soil. With this method we make Amrut Mitti - nutrient rich, aerated soil which is a 4 month process. This process provides nutrient rich soil as one finds in natural forests. (Urban leaves have more than 50 fruiting trees growing on a terrace in Amrit mitti. The trees include coconut, banana, Mango and many more. The roots are not deep at all as they get all their nutrition from little soil.
Amrut Jal is added to our Amrit Mitti often. Amrut Jal – divine nectar for plants, is an accelerating agent for decomposition. It’s made of water, jaggery, cow dung, and cow urine and is very high in microbial activity.
Initially the land at Ummeed was barren and full of glass, stones and plastic in almost all the areas. The will power of the children has given the results; although we still need to work on more areas. At present our vegetables and fruit plants like Tomatos, Egg plants, Mint, Chilli, Bitter Gourd, Mango saplings, Sapota (Chiku) tree, Guava (Amrud) tree, and Jamun Tree are growing well. We recently planted Fenugreek (methi), carrot (gajar), raddish (Mooli), and turnip (Shaljam). There has been some damage due to the rains.. A lot of plants got pest infested. The plants are now treated regularly with organic pesticides like Neem oil, egg shells, turmeric powder, wood ash and other natural solutions.
Being aware of the fact that we have enthusiastic little children with rough childhood, we try to have variety and be spontaneous. Revision is done practically when the children demonstrate as well as theoretically when the children have to answer written quizzes. We have also used Audio Visual aids to increase their awareness like Satyamev Jayate’s – Safe Food episode and documentaries on Urban Leaves and Home Grown Revolution. The kids are also representing the project at the Organic Fare held in Delhi NCR on the 30th Oct 2012. We have to be careful about cleanliness of the garden and instilling this in the children. Volunteering regularly is also important in developing healthy relationship between children.
That proud feeling in them of growing food by themselves and enjoying excellent nutrition as their fruits of labour is our reward.
a) Introduce organic farming as a skill set among these former street children of Ummeed.
b) Provide enough information and firsthand experience to be able to train kids to become Assistant farmers and earn a livelihood from Urban Farming if they wish too.
c) Get them a certification for the course by reputed farming organizations which would also help them fetch a job and train others.
d) We intend to utilize land at Ummeed to get the maximum output and to be able to provide food for as many kids as possible.
Project Tenure: We are giving a period of approximately 1.5 years for this as it will cover minimum 2 Plant life cycles of different types of plants- greens, herbs, vegetables and fruits.
Along with our primary technique – the Natu-eco farming, Permaculture, Composting, Mulching, Double Digging Method and Operation of the Bio-gas Plant are also being taught.
A full-fledged garden space ready for cultivation and optimum utilization of land. We need to procure some more tools, create more study material for children, hire labour for few days to get the land free of glass and waste as of now.
More volunteers and funds would definitely fasten the process and will also help us do justice to the number of kids involved.