Sangeeta & Radhika from Sedam, India

“We are homemakers + organic farmers + entrepreneurs + mum and grandmum from a small town in South India.

We were both raised by plant enthusiasts. One in a small town with access to farmland, the other in a bustling city with a balcony garden. We’ve both seen our parents grow fruits & vegetables for consumption at home. We took to farming much later in our late 30s & 40s; it came to us like a hobby we had lost touch with, slowly becoming something that drives us every single day. We live in a small orthodox community, where it is unusual for women to be seen working in farmlands. When we began farming, almost 12 years ago, we would sneak out of homes with sarees draped over our comfortable farm clothing, as early as 4 am, just for the love of growing & nourishing plants; although social obligations or perceptions are not much of a concern now.

We are growing fruits & vegetables in about 2 acres & roses in 2 acres. Right now, we have 18 different varieties of fruits (including 9 different types of mangoes) and 20+ different vegetables & a few pulses & spices. Our most prized possession is approximately 8000 organically grown pink rose bushes, of which we make rose jam, rose water & other rose products at home. As the COVID-19 pandemic approached our small town, we started growing various ayurvedic herbs like Giloy (Tinospora Cordifolia), Tulsi (Basil) & Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) to make immunity-boosting concoctions for people around us.

Our farm was a barren land when we bought it, damaged by years and years of chemical fertilizers. We have only used different kinds of organic manures to help the soil heal, made with cow dung, cow urine, legumes & biodegradable waste from home. For pest management, we’ve been using neem oil spray & ash over the plants. It isn’t effective all the time, but better than using synthetic pesticides.

We began growing food to provide our families healthy, organic produce to consume. We now grow food because it gives us so much joy. Nourishing & propagating/sowing so many plant babies gives us comfort & a sense of belonging. We are also curious about how different kinds of foods are grown, using different techniques in various parts of the world. We try bringing those techniques to our farm. Our only source of learning about different kinds of plantations is Youtube. We wish we had better access to learning material so that we could delve into different kinds of farming methods.

The satisfaction of growing & consuming healthy organic food is definitely on top of the list. We have received recognition & praise by various organizations & media houses for our efforts over the years. We now see our children & grandchildren taking interest in organic farming, which is one of our biggest rewards – to be able to pass down this love for Mother Nature.

During winters, we invite people from nearby towns/cities to experience farm life. We encourage the kids to grow seeds & water plants. We primarily sell the products we make out of roses to homemakers living in different cities at wholesale rates, so that they have an additional source of income. We have been also actively sharing our seeds especially with homemakers who wish to grow microgreens at home, on their terraces & balconies.

Our immune systems can be made stronger by consuming an organic, poison-free balanced diet. It doesn’t matter if you have access to farmland or not. Grow your own green, and yellow, red, orange, blues. It is always better in the long run.

Don’t forget to take care of yourself like you’d of your plant babies. Stay hydrated, get that golden hour sunlight, weed out negative thoughts & work on keeping your roots firm as you reach out for the sky.”