Rajshree Samadhan Kadam

Rajshree Samadhan Kadam 

Aged 24

Total of four members in household Two children aged 3 and 5 Andur Village, Osmanabad Four and a half acre farm   “After receiving my training on organic farming, I convinced my husband to begin growing organically by giving him some examples about how our children would get sick very often when eating chemically produced foods from the market. My husband then changed his mind because he realized that it was better for our children’s health to be growing and eating foods made naturally without chemicals.”

BEFORE:  Prior to making a connection with SSP, Rajshree’s life was predominantly occupied by the minutiae of daily domestic chores and caring for her two young children. Though her family’s primary source of income is tied to the funds generated by the sale of crops from their 4.5 acre farm, Rajshree had never before visited the farm, let alone been involved in its operation. Her role, she had thought, was concerned only with the goings-on within the four walls of her home and did not venture beyond this. In fact, she mentions that she did not have the opportunity to interact with many people outside of her family unit, as she did not have permission to do so. All responsibilities related to the running of their farm fell within her husband’s domain, and was not an area of Rajshree’s life that she ever imagined she would one day be so closely linked to.    At this time, a vast majority of Rajshree’s family’s diet consisted of foods purchased from the market. She estimates that each month she was spending roughly INR 800 – 1,000 on vegetables, about INR 1,200 on meat, and about INR 300 on fruits at the market. When she was purchasing these chemically produced foods for her family, Rajshree notes that her children would routinely fall ill every month, or about every two to three weeks.    AFTER:  Rajshree first made a connection with SSP in 2018. In the beginning, her efforts to build a relationship with SSP and with other women part of this network were met with some resistance, as she was not permitted to venture outside of her village or interact with people unknown to her family. Despite these initial challenges, she confirms that her family’s mentality changed soon after as, “some of the SSP leaders came to my home and interacted with them, I then received permission to go outside of my village to participate in trainings.”    Rajshree’s trainings provided her with information on the many benefits of organic farming and supplied her with the practical knowledge to begin her own kitchen garden. Since beginning to grow organically in her kitchen garden plot Rajshree confirms that, “the percentage of fresh fruits and vegetables in my family’s diet has increased greatly in comparison to before; now, we eat many more fruits and vegetables, and many more different kinds of them than we ever did.” Her trainings also reinforced the importance of growing a variety of different crops that would be used primarily for household consumption. As a result, she is now growing a wide range of nutritious and 100% organically produced fruits and vegetables for her family’s consumption, including ladyfinger, guvar, tomato, brinjal, fenugreek, spinach, cucumber, coriander, chilies, onion, garlic, bitter gourd, ridge gourd, papaya, custard apple, masoor dal, moong dal, udad dal, toor dal, chana dal, moth beans, green dal, kidney beans, and cow peas.    When speaking about the shifts in her family’s eating habits, Rajshree is quick to mention that, “before connecting with SSP I was feeding my children a lot of packaged, prepared foods like Maggi and biscuits and my son would cry a lot. But after beginning to grow organically in my kitchen garden and feed my children the food that I produced myself, I saw immediately that they did not get sick as much as before.” For Rajshree, the connection between eating a more nutritious, chemical-free diet and the overall health and well-being of her family is undeniable, “now that I feed my son lots of fruits and vegetables grown at home, his health has improved and he doesn’t cry as much as before.” In fact, “in the last 6 months, we haven’t gotten sick at all!” she beams. Besides the drastically positive impacts on her family’s health, they have also noticed an improvement in the quality and taste of their food, which is, as Rajshree remarked, “much tastier than the fruits and vegetables that I used to buy in the market!”    Although Rajshree’s relationship with SSP is still very much in its infancy, she has already taken initiative to make changes for the betterment of her family’s health and well-being. The success of her organic kitchen garden, which continues to nourish both her family and her soil, is her gateway to bringing about change on a larger front. As she asserts, “right now, not all of our 4.5 acres are organic - I am only growing organically in my kitchen garden - but within the next 6 to 7 months, we will switch our entire farm over to organic.”