Meet Maja from Serbia

“Ever since I remember, I have always loved spending time in the garden with my family. In my area most people have their own garden, orchards and vineyards. Knjaževac, a small town in eastern Serbia is known for producing fruit and wine. Now the town is modernized and hardly anyone grows vegetables and fruits in the old-fashioned organic way. I opted for the organic way of growing food, because as a mother of two girls, I want my children to feel the real taste of food that is also healthy.

We mainly grow heirloom varieties of vegetables that we inherited from our parents and grandparents, and we also grow new varieties that were not grown here before. Our older daughter is a child with special needs and because of her health condition it is very important what kind of food we consume.

We have adapted the work in the garden to her possibilities and needs, so she and her sister are happy to get involved in all the work in the garden. They have both learned to produce their own food and take care of the farm animals.

Once a neighbor, today my husband, Dejan, works in a machine company and is often busy at work, but the girls and I manage most of the work without him. People can often see us in meadows and nearby forest picking herbs and mushrooms, and we are always accompanied by one of three dogs or even cats. Sometimes my parents who live close to us come to our aid and we are tremendously grateful to them.

I swear by the grace of nettles and compost and crop rotation that I respect. We plan to expand our farm, we want a donkey and more goats. We will also increase the production of vegetables, although we produce enough for our needs, and there is often a surplus of food that we share with family and friends.

We would never trade the peace and quiet brought to us by plants and animals in the village for the noise and bustle of the city. Our enthusiasm is untamed and we enjoy the gifts of nature and its inexhaustible power.”