Hello friends, I am Santosh Bhapkar. I am a farmer engaged in natural farming.
This is not the first year of Bhimthadi Jatra; this event has caught the fancy of Pune over the last many years. But I feel, this year’s Jatra is exceptional as it appeals to the intellectuals of Pune. This year, for the first time, they have included an Organic Annadata Food Festival – an independent section of sale-booths for toxin-free, pesticide-free, safe food items .
What makes Safe Food so important?
Most people are uninitiated about the ill-effects of chemical-laced food. A healthy physique is God’s gift to us. But we tend to ignore it because the money we make, compels us to ignore the health we lose. When we run into illnesses, we rush in distress to the doctor and discover that our hectic lifestyles have made us a host to all sorts of lifestyle diseases. Too high or too low blood-pressure, blood-sugar, dementia and the many vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Our hair is graying faster. Puberty age and menstrual cycles have gone haywire. We live under constant stress, anxiety, a dozen other problems, and then we wonder about what have we been doing? and why it is so that we are eating unnatural food in packing? We are all educated; our children go to good schools; we make good money; we live in a high society. So what exactly went wrong that we are losing health?
The doctor charges a fat bill only to tell us that the problem is in our diet. It is in the highly processed, packaged food that we consume daily. Awakened, we go about seeking simple, clean, safe food. Then somewhere in the village, as we look for that natural organic farm, we find the other end of our own misery. Deep inside the farm story, we learn about the average farmer’s plight. Through quirks of nature and greed of merchants, the farmer is reduced to a begging, defeated soul. Perpetual financial agony has turned most of his brethren to adopt chemical-based farming. They have taken to spraying deadly pesticides on their crops risking their own lives, their families’ health and compromising the health of the society at large. Paradoxically, the consumers advised by their doctors to turn to organic, safe-food discover that genuinely safe food is not available even at a premium. The farmers have turned into paupers and the consumers into a helpless and sick society. If the organic-natural farmer is compensated for his toil, he will be incentivised to grow more safe food. After all, isn’t the farmer the real Annadata – the principal provider of food? We owe it to this Annadata to bring good health and cheer to us and the gift of robust health and a great environment our coming generations.
I am deeply grateful to all the organisers and volunteers of the Safe Food Movement for the natural transformation of farmers and consumers through their selfless endeavour. I acknowledge their effort in striking simultaneous direct contact with many farmers like me, as well as with thousands of consumers like you, through the Bhimthadi Jatra. They have shown the difference between lip-service through various media and real work on the ground.
Organic Producers’ & Sellers of Natural Farmers’ Group
Read more about Santosh Bhapkar’s Sampoorna Shetkari (संपूर्ण शेतकरी)