Most of us are lucky to enjoy good 3 – 4 meals a day but rarely do we give a thought on the source of food or who made it possible to reach our tables. We often forget or underestimate farmers who are one of the most crucial part of society. The hardships they endure to produce food for us, for boosting our economy by exporting these food products, producing raw materials for clothing, and more are often disregarded and taken for granted by us.

Although farmers have dedicated their lives to producing healthy crops and feeding people, Farming is considered to be one of the most stressful occupations as they worry over huge arrears, government regulations, pest outbreaks, animal disease, changing weather conditions and now the rapid rise in big industrial farming. With these large-scale industries procuring huge lands, producing enormous volumes of crops heavily laden with chemicals, pesticides, genetically modified crops, and injecting animals with antibiotics and hormones has made it challenging for rural farmers to make a living. Many farmers and their families live on minimal incomes and often have phases without adequate food to feed themselves. Meanwhile, the younger generation witnessing these struggles do not consider agriculture as an attractive or viable career choice. 

It is our responsibility to address the challenges faced by poor farmers and increase their sources of income to eradicate poverty and ensure sustainability, also bring awareness to the younger generation on the benefits of farming and an individual’s responsibility to contribute positively to the community.

Good Living Trust has been undertaking initiatives to mitigate the struggles of farmers and make agriculture a desirable career choice for the younger generation, which is vital to ensuring the long-term sustainability of our necessities. Good Living Trust urges every individual to empathize with these struggling farmers of today and to contribute in small ways to improve their life and wellbeing. 

Here are some viable methods to improve the well being of rural farmers and make a difference:

  • Eat seasonal produce and buy from local farmers and thereby you not only support them but get hold of tastier, nutrient-dense products and promote a healthy environment and sustainable local economy instead of buying from large scale agriculture contaminating our soil and water.
  • Support firms such as restaurants, bakers, etc. buying products directly from farms 
  • Introduce agriculture as a subject in school. Reform the image created around farming and change the perception of agriculture among youth standing as an obstacle for career choice. Preparing youth with skills, knowledge can invoke their interest and confidence in agriculture to pursue a career and build a thriving future in agriculture.
  • Educating farmers on sustainable and better yielding farming techniques. GLT requests agronomists or individuals studying agriculture to join as volunteers to help farmers understand the best crop selection, crop rotation, and other successful farming practices.
  • High schools to assign internal marks for students volunteering to help farmers at their farm thereby helping them understand the importance of efforts taken by farmers and also to develop an interest in agriculture.
  • Encouraging farmers to cultivate more protein-rich crops can be a crucial step in improving their nutrition and diversifying income, as well as alleviating the effects of climate change. 
  • Setting up mobile vans for farmers to sell their products gives them the freedom to sell at a further location without depending on a middleman and sharing huge profits with them. 
  • Exploit the power of social media to spread the word. Spreading awareness of budding farm or sharing details of superior quality fresh farm produce and their higher nutrient content compared to large industrial produce via social media can bring awareness and motivate others to support these farmers.

Farming is a way of life for these rural farmers and they are an epitome of selflessness and dedication. Our healthy sustenance relies on them heavily, thus let us help them to get out of poverty, hunger, and ensure their good health and wellbeing. As they say, "we reap what we sow", hence let us do the right thing now to sow a better tomorrow.

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