Software Engineer Harpreet Singh hails from a family of farmers. During his childhood days, everything in his family’s kitchen would come directly from the farm. Right from vegetables such as potato and cauliflower, to pulses, jaggery, seeds and sugar, all food was from their own farms. His father worked hard in the fields and made sure that his children ate good, nourishing food.
But Harpreet wasn’t able to give his son and daughter the kind of food he grew up eating. “Every time I would get grocery and vegetables from the market, I knew I was buying poison for my children. Like my father, I also wanted to give healthy food to my kids. But the ‘green revolution’ has turned every food item toxic,” shares Harpreet. He felt a strong pull to going back to natural, organic farming methods on his own. And when RoundGlass Foundation presented its Organic Farming initiative, he didn’t need to think twice to sign up.
When Harpreet joined hands with RoundGlass Foundation, he was assured of their commitment to compensate him for the deficit during the three-year transition, and to help him with the certification.
As he continues to work for Edifecs, Harpreet has also begun farming with organic practices on three acres of his land. He has grown organic wheat, mustard, black gram, masri, basmati, till and makki. It is inspiring to see him working full days at office, and devoting the rest of his time and weekends to working in his chemical-free field . “I have created a balance between my work in office and farming because I want to bring back the natural way of farming. Even if someone does it on just one acre – there is a huge change that the person can bring.”
Harpreet has been inspired by writer, environmentalist and philanthropist Bhagat Puran Singh who has an organic farm at Manewala. Bhagat’s strong views on the deleterious effects of chemical fertilizers and pesticides on health resonated with Harpreet. Having lost his mother to cancer some years ago, Harpreet understands the terrible toll we pay in our lives simply to increase crop yields. He says, “Guru Nanak Dev ji has identified air as guru, water as father and earth as mother – Pavan Guru, Pani Pita, Mata Dharat Mahat. In the present chemical farming process, the entire ecosystem gets affected. Earlier, a farmer loved the animals in the fields, and every animal or insect had a role to play. There was a chain of life that we have broken. But when you switch to organic farming, your entire thought process changes. You don’t want to kill anything, and that makes you a better human being.”
Harpreet is quite vocal about the need to stop the use of chemicals in growing crops. With his experience in organic farming, he feels he also has measurable results to share with people. “By associating with RoundGlass Foundation, I have learnt many new things about organic farming. It has provided me the chance to adopt new techniques and helped me hone my farming skills. Now I have the practical knowledge to share with anyone who wants to pursue organic farming.”
And that is what Harpreet has been doing. He has reached out to other young farmers, encouraging them to take advantage to the foundation’s support. “When farmers started chemical farming, Punjab’s new generation were left with nothing to do. Organic farming allows you to bring in new ideas and processes to try on the field. With organic techniques there is lot of cross diversification that one can do. There is huge scope for going creative.”
Creative, flourishing, organic – through RoundGlass Foundation’s Organic Farming initiative, Harpreet has found the best way to grow the food he has always wanted for his family.