(1 Sep '09)
August is the season when many youth from all over the world flock to Amritapuri to spend their holidays with Amma. It is a time for the youngsters to reflect about life in a deeper way, contribute to Amma’s charitable work and socialize with other like-minded youngsters. This year, AYUDH decided to make an effort and follow Amma’s advice to work on the preservation of Nature. The first initiative was to start a vegetable garden.
Twice a week aound 30 youngsters have been going to the ashram’s “Vrindavan” garden near the Ayurveda school to prepare vegetable beds, mix compost into the soil, plant medicinal trees and learn about organic gardening.
Along with the garden in Amritapuri, AYUDH has started cultivating food in Amma’s Centers in California, Michigan, Germany and France. Even youth who live in cities have made an effort to grow vegetables, in whatever space they have available. The AYUDH group in Austria for example has turned one of their members’ balcony into a field of pots, with tomatoes, zucchini and pepper sprouting up everywhere.
“GrowIn’ – One Seed at a Time” is the project title which the youth have given to their common effort to grow healthy, organic food, thus reducing pollution and becoming more independent from the international food market. Another objective of the project is to reconnect to Nature as the life giving principle. Even though all the youngsters have consumed countless of tomatoes in their lives – very few have ever experienced how much effort and time it takes to grow a tomato plant. People are used to getting their food from supermarket shelves – not from the soil. GrowIn’ wants to re-introduce the younger generation to the joy of gardening.
Finally, in a few weeks, the youth hope to harvest the tomatoes, corn, cucumber, beans, ladies finger, spinach and many more delicious, organic, vegetables at the “Vrindavan” Garden, offering the fruits of their efforts – literally – to Amma.
“Many of the plants die after they have shed their seeds. They sacrifice their own life in order to give birth to many more plants, thus sustaining the circle of life,” explained Lola, an ashram resident who has been working in the “Vrindavan” garden for two years, cultivating over 7,000 Tulasi plants and many fruit trees.
When they will go back to their home countries they will take with them not just the memory of spending beautiful days with Amma but also new knowledge to live a more sustainable and environmental friendly life.