What can you do?

Most of my friends who find the time to read through all this gibberish, usually ask me a standard question: 'What can I , as an individual do to help your cause?'.

The short answer is - you can do a lot. The long answer is: My cause is to make the farmer self-reliant. So city people come into the picture mainly as consumers. First, you can group 2,3 or 4 of your friends and form an autonomous consumer group. My feeling is that the maximum number should not exceed 7 - or else we end up with logistics and distribution and the whole excess baggage of a central economy. Make a list of all things you will need annually and try and get this produced for you organically at market price. That way, it will be a win-win for both you and the farmer.

Easy as it may sound, there are many practical difficulties. For example, what happens if the farmer doesn't produce per projection? Or if one of you decide to opt out of the group midway? How do you go about finding the farmers? Who will be the single point of contact and act as co-ordinator? Who will manage the post harvest processing and delivery? All these questions have no fixed answer. In general, if it is small, the operation can be incidentally managed. For example, my friend in Madras wanted 10kg of Idli rice yesterday and I simply took 10kg from my home stock and walked to the bus stop carrying it (about 1/2 km) and sent it through private bus service. It cost me 30 rupees to send it. But if I were to manage the whole operation for say 500 kg of rice then I require a laborer and vehicle and also a greater means of transport. (Although I didn't like the idea of transporting produce, this was more to meet his need than mine.)

If you are really serious about doing something to help the soil and its sons, please email me at contact AT earth.org.in. If you are zealous enough to proselytize, try convincing a farmer within 100 km distance to grow organic food for your group. I am quite willing to organize the seed for him as well as provide agronomy know-how. You can have the added advantage of free weekend getaways in a farm on the pretext of inspecting food production! Your friends will also look up to you for doing something about it all.

If more and more groups like this are formed, the whole centralized economy will collapse and the logical end of this exercise will be a natural shift to Gram Swaraj. The village economy is what we should aim for. If you are too busy to do anything, but genuinely care, well we sympathize with your sorry state, but you cannot have power and wisdom - make a choice!

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