Closing my eyes now, the motion picture at the forefront of my mind is that of my hands covered with soil, picking out weeds that had grown around yellow mustard leaves. After a job well done, I brought my palms together, connecting the circuit of energy within my body, and rubbed them softly in a circular motion. Now I truly know and can say what it feels like to be at one, in tune and in harmony with Earth. And I have never felt more alive.
As part of this whole process of self-discovery and living a more sustainable life, I decided that I should live up to my words and try gardening. I have always said that I love the environment and enjoy being surrounded by Nature, but I felt like a hypocrite; I have never really gotten my hands in dirt, except when I tripped on my own foot.
I needed to prove to myself that I really do love plants and that I am willing to learn more and work with them. Through the charity organisation called WWOOF, I found a humble organic farm nearby where I currently live. And so on Tuesday, with excitement over the impending new adventure, I visited the farm called Abundant Earth.
The farm is clearly structured as off-grid despite being in proximity with civilisation. The energy for electricity is generated from wind and solar powers with batteries, and water is obtained from the ground or the sky. I suppose it is a nearly or exactly zero waste lifestyle that the owners live by, as they don’t seem to produce unnecessary trash. From what I saw, they definitely reuse, recycle and rot.
From the conversations I had, and by experiencing the gardening work, I feel that this is a rich life. To me they seem to have everything they ever need: food, shelter, family and passion. And they get sufficient income from their organic vegetable box scheme or ‘veg bag’.
They do the veg bag scheme every Thursday, sorting out bags of their own harvests and vegetables from other nearby farms for their customers, many of whom are loyal ones. On that day, I was tasked to harvest the calabrese broccoli and leeks. I had to pluck the former one by one and dig out the latter. Those tasks were therapeutic and so I genuinely enjoyed them. I also helped to sort and weigh shallots on Tuesday and those went into the bags as well.
This experience has strengthened my ambition to learn more about plants and care for them, be it via farming, horticulture or herbalism; or all three. The point is that I could be directly involved in dealing with plants and the soil they live on.
Revolution is based on land. Land is the basis of all independence. — Malcolm X
I know I have no formal training or experience whatsoever on this subject, but ever since finding my ground recently, I feel that this is what I need to pursue for the sake of my mental, physical and spiritual well-being. I need to feed my soul with passion. I do not want to fall into the trap of materialism and temporary gratification, and consequently fall into depression all over again.
Being aware of this concept just months before graduation does bring uncertainty, but it has allowed me to imagine a more optimistic prospect — I can choose whichever route I want to pursue! But of course it’s not as easy as it seems considering societal pressure. Whatever path I choose to tread, I know that there would be obstacles to overcome nonetheless.
Therefore, it is just the matter of choosing either a safe job with immediate income but with dire consequences to my overall health, or an unconventional job with uncertain revenue but one that I have absolute passion in doing.
All I need is balance. If I want to do something I enjoy, I know I can’t expect to get a lot of money. But that’s alright because I don’t crave to earn a lot of money. I just need enough to survive. And considering that I am changing my lifestyle to a sustainable and minimalistic one, I doubt I’d need much. At least, hopefully, I know I’d be rich in many other meaningful ways.