At a recent beach meditation satsang, Amma spoke on the factors contributing to cancer, emphasizing the need for a balanced lifestyle complete with daily exercise, moderation in diet, ample sunlight exposure, and regular medical check-ups. She discussed heredity and stress as possible determinants, as well as the increasing influence of contamination in our environment, including pesticides sprayed on crops, growth hormones in meat, and pollutants in water supplies. These contaminants may accumulate in the body, year after year, making the immune system weak and prone to disease.
Amma advised Her children to do their own organic gardening in order to counteract the negative effects of pesticides. She said that each person should be able to eat vegetables one day each week from their own garden.
At the time, I was in the midst of taking a five-day course at Amritapuri called GetGrowing, which ramped up my excitement all the more to dig my hands in the earth and plant! This program was developed by the GreenFriends initiative in Ireland with the goal to provide the basic knowledge needed to grow healthy food in whatever space available – be it a piece of land, garden, paved yard, terrace, or balcony. It’s basically organic gardening for dummies (like me!), perfect for those with all the desire, but little to no hands-on experience “in the field.” The course is outlined in a well-researched, comprehensive guidebook that takes the novice or expert step by step through the adventure of gardening. From seed to fruit, the guide details garden bed design, crop rotation, sowing seedlings, transplanting, soil care, mulching, worm and waste compost, pest control, and finally, harvesting!
It has been truly amazing, getting some real, first-hand experience digging and raising new beds, seeding chard and broccoli, transplanting tulasi and amaranth, sifting through worm compost, constructing mini-tunnels and green houses, and much more. In addition, we were blessed to tour many of the gardens around the ashram, soaking in the farmers’ wealth of knowledge in the methods they have employed to grow successfully with the limited water and resources available. We also paid invaluable visits to the ashram’s waste and worm composting facilities, learning how to reuse and recycle to create something beautifully useful and sustainable for generations to come.
In light of Amma’s words and this fresh perspective on gardening, I am so inspired to just GetGrowing!, start at whatever level of experience I have, and “try, try, try,” as Amma’s says. With the risks of modern farming practices, increasing crop shortages, and rising food prices, I pray I am able to do my part to cultivate a deep, nourishing bond to Nature, helping to restore the harmony of Mother Earth.
Om Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu
by Vinodini (USA)
“Even if we have only a tiny plot of land, we should try to grow a few vegetables using organic fertilizers. Spending some time with our plants, we should talk to them and kiss them. This relationship will give us a new vitality.” – Amma