Grow your own food. Spend your weekends in your own farmhouse.

The time has come to go back to our roots. The time has come to grow our own food. The time has come to offer our children a natural health immunity and a safer environment. The time has come to become a part-time farmer. If you already own a flat in an apartment complex, then the time has come to establish and own a farmhouse.

There was a time when Chennai streets had mud, soil, and space providing children an opportunity to gain immunity by soiling their limbs while playing. Today it has only sewage and diseases to offer to its new generation. Lucky are those who spend their childhood days playing in the mud and chlorine-free water and spend their post-retirement days in a farmhouse of their own. Owning a piece of land that contains a pair of cows, a few goats or sheep, a score of hens, a dog, a few fruit-bearing trees and a patch of green offering vegetables and greens can be heaven for people moving into senior citizenship. That is how our past generations lived.

A couple of generations back, everybody’s second occupation was farming. One would have been a teacher, a bank clerk, a postmaster, a tailor or a trader by profession or even a student or a housewife, but they still used to grow their own food and led a healthier life. Every household used to have some parcel of land around their house in which they will have a couple of milch animals providing the family with milk and manure, a score of poultry offering the family eggs and chicken and a green patch yielding fresh vegetables, fruits and greens for self-consumption. Since the size of farming operations was small and the focus was on self-consumption, there was little use for chemical-based fertilizers or pesticides. Safe food for the family was the only mantra.

Along the way, in pursuit of greener pastures, we abandoned what we were taught early on in life – ‘Health is wealth’. Our lifestyle changed because of the pressure to get ahead in life. We progressed and prospered but it came at a cost. A part of our earnings is being skimmed by corporate hospitals, assorted gyms, health insurance companies and lately by so-called organic food stores. Even after all the skimming, we still find ourselves worse off after reaching 40 years of age. By the time we realize the scams, we find our near and dear ones already undergoing chemotherapy or dialysis or angiography.

We thought immunization, medical insurance, occasional health check-ups, owning a treadmill, a visit to the gym or buying from organic stores will ensure our health. Few people are aware that most of the stores selling organic food in India are scams. These stores sell the items available in normal stores at double the price, chuckle behind the backs of their gullible customers and laugh all the way to the bank at our expense.

The brilliance of the corporates lies in the fact that they make us forget that: –
1. A visit to the gym is no protection against deadly cancer which is essentially caused by inorganic materials in the air we breathe, the water we drink and the food we eat.

2. No health insurance coverage ever offered to reduce or remove the physical pain of a chemotherapy or dialysis session.
3. Hospitals provide diagnosis and medicine but no cure against cancer.

The way forward is to go backward and the technological advancements of today are making it possible without compromising the progress we have made in our life.

The concepts of ‘Work from home’ and ‘Homeschooling / Online teaching’ is taking rapid strides through advancements in information technology. In another decade, a vast majority of us will be working from home and our children may have to go to school once a week or a fortnight. Drones will deliver home our purchases. (Amazon has already started using drones to deliver products to its customers in the USA). Micro agricultural implements are making it easier for ordinary folks to carry out micro-farming activities.

Nothing prevents those who wish to grow their own food by taking up part-time farming. We Indians are regarded as brilliant in the field of IT by the world, yet we presume we don’t know how to grow our own safe food, we are sufficiently lazy enough to deny a natural immunity to our children and scared to get into farming as a secondary occupation. Farming, which our immediate forefathers used to excel in looks daunting today. Having migrated far from our village to the city, we forget that farming is in our genes and kids natural instinct is to play in water and mud

All it takes is some land with sufficient water, a farmhand, a few agricultural implements and the desire to live longer and healthier to proclaim – ‘I grow my own food’. Additionally, offer the surplus fruits, vegetables, and Ghee to your neighbours and say – ‘This has come from our farm’. Be prepared to hear your relatives, friends, and neighbours tell you to sell the surplus to them next time on wards providing you a supplementary income.

The day you say, ‘I grow my own food’ is the day you have obtained the best insurance policy.
The day you say, ‘This has come from our farm’ is the day you have obtained the best retirement pension plan.