Land & Climate Change
I’ve always enjoyed gardening. As a UK native in San Francisco, USA, it took several years for me to adapt my knowledge to the new climate. My frustration at wilting flowers however was insignificant, compared to rural communities facing the effects of climate change on land they have been farming for centuries.
Families rely on local weather patterns to know when to plant their crops. Since climate change has begun to take effect, rain is irregular, soil less fertile, and crops fail. People migrate to look for work to feed their families.
Sahyog trains people in vermiculture, a composting method using earthworms to create rich, organic soil. The soil enriches the land, fertilizes crops, and improves the soil’s ability to retain moisture, even during drought years.
To preserve rainfall, Sahyog maps the land and identifies the best location to build bunds. These are foot-high mounds of earth that run the width and length of fields. They slow the flow of the rainwater and minimize erosion. Their careful construction allows water to seep through the rocks, and onto other communities. Nothing is wasted.
Families showed me the benefits of the bunds and vermicomposting: plump eggplants, bright chilies, and leafy greens. Despite the monsoon being poor, their crops were flourishing. The produce feeds families and helps pay for their children’s schooling.
My experience helped me grasp the true value of land.