For a country with 58% of its population’s livelihood depending on agriculture, it is saddening to see the plight of farmers in India. The same farmer who feeds the country is struggling to feed his family, as a direct result of the agrarian crisis. The statistics paint an even more disturbing picture as approximately 4 lakh farmers committed suicide in the country between 1995 and 2018, as per NCRB (National Crime Records Bureau). Hunger, debts, the untimely monsoons, and the acute droughts, lack of safety nets, exploitation by middlemen- the suffering of farmers are endless. And in 2020, the suffering reached new levels with the nationwide lockdown imposed due to the pandemic.
When the lockdown was imposed in the country in 2020, the farmers had to incur huge losses, which are irreparable. Amidst such circumstances, a paradigm shift in structures and policies through farm laws was proposed by the government. But the year-long protests pushed the government to roll back the three farm laws. While it is imperative to reform the institutions and structures governing agriculture, we can all do our bit to support the local farmers. After all, supporting local farmers also means we get fresh fruits and vegetables, and also help bolster the local economy. Let’s have a look at what we can do to support the farmers.
- Sign up for a CSA: At the heart of CSA or what is called Community Supported Agriculture is the idea of supporting the farmer instead of just buying groceries. CSA models seek to create a partnership between consumers and farmers, where consumers sign up for a weekly share of the farm. With the monetary support and a guarantee of purchase provided by consumers, farmers can better plan their crops, use sustainable, organic farming practices and grow fresher and healthier fruits and vegetables. By creating a regular income for the farmer, consumers can support the local economy as well as improve the quality of production.
- Visit the Weekly Farmers market: Weekly markets have gained popularity in the last few years in urban areas. Mostly functional one day a week during defined hours, farmers at these markets bring their supply of fresh and seasonal fruits and vegetables. Instead of buying at 10X prices from a grocery store that has bought its produce through multiple layers of middlemen, these markets allow you to directly connect with the farmers, get to know them, and buy fresh groceries, at competitive prices. Check out the farmers’ markets in your area and help increase farmers’ profits with your purchase.
- Explore your local Farmers Market on an app: If there’s one thing we are all looking for when buying our groceries, it’s convenience. What if there was a way to bring your local farmer’s market right into your homes? We at Farmsnation are revolutionizing the way we buy from farmers. As a consumer, you can discover verified farmers in your area and directly buy fresh vegetables, fruits, dairy, herbs, and more from them. When you buy from an app like Farmsnation, farmers get to keep the profit instead of middle-men, and your family gets the purity and nutrition it deserves. You can download the app here.
- Eat at a farm-to-table restaurant: An emerging trend in India, the metro cities have welcomed a few farm-to-table restaurants for the health-conscious gourmands. Seasonal vegetables are grown on the farms, free of chemicals and pesticides, and brought to the local diners for cooking just before preparing the meal. What this does is add to the overall experience by keeping the freshness and health quotient high, and also bringing in the local flavors to the food. Menus are also changed constantly based on the seasonality of the produce grown on the farms. Some popular ones that have emerged in the capital are- Pluck at Hotel Pullman Aerocity, Caara Café at Kasturba Gandhi Marg, Dusit Devarana.
- Visit a U-Pick farm: What if you could pick your fruits and vegetables at a farm near you and take them home for your next meal? No, you need not be a farmer. Welcome to the U-pick farm concept. Living in your urban towns, you can now have the luxury of picking your strawberries, apples, pumpkins, and more from the farms where they are grown. Driving across these farms growing different varieties of fruits and vegetables is in itself a sheer joy. It’s a fun, leisure activity for families and a perfect way to connect back to your roots.
Supporting the farmers has never been easier. With a range of options that empower you to directly purchase from a farmer and many that even allow you to do it from the comfort of your home, we can all help alleviate the pain and suffering of farmers. Not just a better income for the farmer, but buying directly from the producer helps improve the quality of agricultural practices in the long run. It’s about giving charge to the farmer and providing them a chance at a better life.