Farzana Village Nilore, Beer Valley, District Haripur
Farzana, an innovative cook on her return from Karachi was seeking productive and constructive means to kill her free time. Home grown vegetables are source of saving for her family. Besides She had found the answer to her anxieties in kitchen gardening. Tending her plants and watching them grow is a great stress reliever for her. And this pleasure she mutually shares with her children.
It has been three years since Farzana moved back to her husband’s village Nilore, from Karachi. Her husband was working as a professional tailor in that big city but life in Karachi is expensive and too fast- paced to keep up with, especially with 9 children in town. “On returning to the village, the only thing that haunted me was how to kill my free time productively” I felt I had to indulge in something constructive, if not for myself then at least for my children” says Farzana.
That is when she signed up for trainings with Sidra (RSP NMA) on how to maintain a kitchen garden. It has now been a year now since she learnt how she could utilise the empty space in her home. In the one year she has cultivated spinach, tomatoes, onion, garlic, coriander, fenugreek, brinjals, capsicum, fresh beans and green chilies. Farzana was also shown how to make her own compost using dung, leaves, ash and vegetable peels. But rather than making a pit, she made a heap of it. Once it was ready in 3-6 months, she used that instead of synthetic fertilizers. “The vegetables of my garden have a very refreshing taste, way better than the ones bought from the market. In Karachi the vegetables used to taste strange, and now I realize it was because those are grown out of dirty water but here I used clean water as it is readily available. Maybe that is the reason why my vegetables do not rot quickly – they ripen with the passage of time”, says an observant Farzana. Through an exposure visit to NARC11, she was amazed to realize that even small pots and pitchers can be used to grow vegetables, especially if space is little. A few women in her group are practicing this method in their homes now and are reaping wonderful results.
There is something of an innovative cook in Farzana as well, she preserves the green leafy parts of garlic, blends it in juicer with some vinegar to preserve it. “It gives a delicious taste if added to meat dishes”. Likewise her green sauce made with mint is very tasty. Tasting it one understands the difference between this epicurean delight and the one bought from the market. At the moment Farzana might not realize but she has also discovered the art of preservation and maybe future marketing as well. “The kitchen garden is such a beneficial activity that besides providing nutrition it is also a source of saving. I know that every day one has to purchase vegetables of at least 150 PKR. Now most of the vegetables are from home so this amount is saved. You do realize that is a big help”, muses Farzana.
Every morning, as soon as Farzana is free from other routine work, she tends to her kitchen garden. She finds it very refreshing to work with plants and considers it Sadqa e Jaria12. More importantly, it helps refrain from wasting time and instead of idling away, it is time spent in something productive.
“I found this activity not only good in terms of nutrition but also a great stress reliever. The moment you see the seeds sprouting and then growing into full plants is so relieving. I cannot explain in words the level of satisfaction and happiness when the first flower blooms and then slowly and gradually it becomes a little fruit. As it grows so does your pleasure. I watch them each day growing and blossoming in front of my eyes. Just like my children. They are also fully involved in vegetable growing as well and we mutually share the happiness in watching it all grow”.