Now I know that I want to be careful with what I eat, and really, not putting chemicals on my food is a good place to start.
When the RVA students, Ingrida, Ceren and Paulus and their teacher Dani, first came, I was in the house. It was just Jasmin and them out there building the garden. I didn’t want to hear what they had to say. I was stubborn. I thought that the way I was farming with chemicals was the right way, and I didn’t want anyone telling me that something different was possible, because, you know, accepting that you can do something in a better way means that you have to change, and change is not easy. It’s a state of mind.
These guys came a few times to take measurements, and to look at the land, but I stayed inside. I didn’t think that they knew what they were doing. But one day, they started measuring and pulling strings all around the yard. This really intrigued me, I couldn’t stay inside and wait anymore, and decided to come out and see what they were doing. They showed me and started to explain and I started to help them, because, well, it’s my backyard too, and I wanted to see what was going on there. Then we planted a lot of things and the garden started to flourish. It was really fascinating to see!
We planted this Christophene, and I can tell you, it has saved our family so much money, I can’t believe how much this one plant can produce! When I was in the mountains, I never thought about planting Christophene, because I was too busy wasting my time and money with chemical farming. With this garden, every week we harvest most of the veggies that our family eats. I never thought that this small piece of land, could produce as much as 100 pounds of tomatoes, cucumbers, cabbage, and you should have seen my cauli flowers.
Look at how I changed: I just set some melon seeds there in these plastic glasses like they showed me; I never used to do that! You can tell them that I am taking good care of the garden now. They were worried at first, but I’m fully convinced now.
In 2016, I fell really ill and I had to change my diet. I don’t eat meat anymore, and I eat a lot more vegetables, but I never really paid attention to the chemicals. Food is what made me sick in the first place: Now I know that I want to be careful with what I eat, and really, not putting chemicals on my food is a good place to start. I want to grow things that way.
The other day my neighbor came by to ask what chemicals I was using to have such beautiful and green plants. I showed him my hot pepper and garlic spray. I don’t think he believed me that I don’t use any chemicals, but maybe he will try it and see for himself. That’s how it changed me personally, growing things and seeing for myself.
I give thanks to the people who helped build this garden for us. It helped us open our eyes to the many opportunities that we could get from this land. It was right before our eyes, but yet we couldn’t see it. Gardening is a lot of work, but it is so rewarding.
JASMIN AND TONE FROM COCOA