Nanjammal is popularly known as “Vegetable Grandma” due to her farming knowledge. At the age of 85, Nanjammal, living in Thoppampatti Poonga Nagar, Coimbatore, starts her day by checking the plants in her home garden. After her morning routine, she heads to several houses in her village to analyse the growth of the plants in each of their gardens. Even though her health is worsening, she finds the time and energy to indulge in farming activities.
She inspires people to plant. Moreover, she is the instigator of more than 160 vegetable gardens in two villages in her locality. Nanjammal used to visit Anyapalayam twice a week to check the plants and resolve the doubts of gardeners during the initial days. She says, “Farming is a great way to attain self-reliance, especially after retirement. It keeps the body and minds healthy.”
Nanjammal has worked in the fields ever since she was seven with her family and continued it till today at the age of 85 She raised three children by farming. Now she not only raises her family but also helps others through agriculture. Her son, Bharathi Chinnasamy, also supports her mother by helping two neighbouring villages with seedlings and the guidance required for vegetable farming. Bharathi is a firm believer in Gandhi’s ideology and believes that all villages should be self-reliant. To attain this goal, he has been working with a self-help group for the past 12 years. Five years ago, Nanjammal joined her son in the cause, and her idea was to make villages self-sufficient in vegetable farming. Six years ago, Bharathi started distributing free seeds to villagers so that they could grow but saw no pay for her efforts. So Nanjammal again started giving free seeds and she didn’t stop there Once every four days, she visited each house to check the growth of the saplings.
Initially, people were puzzled by her actions. But soon, they started coming in search of Bharathi to get seeds and saplings. After Thoppampatti, Nanjammal also started this initiative in her ancestral village, Anyapalayam in Erode district. Bharathi says, “My mother believes that every family in India should grow their own vegetables. So she helps each family in the village set up their kitchen gardens. Nothing will stop her.”
Nanjammal used to visit Anyapalayam twice a week to check the plants and resolve the doubts of gardeners during the initial days. Since her health is worsening, most of the activities are managed by Bharathi alone. Through a collective effort, the mother-son duo has been successful in implementing kitchen gardens in 10 villages in Coimbatore. They hope to continue gardening and farming to make rural India self-sufficient.
Credits: The Better IndiaTo read the full article, click here.