To truly establish our Tri Hitta Karana (the connection between ourselves, others, and the land), getting our hands in the soil will help that connection become part of our purpose -- to live completely in understanding and peace with our world.
2 years ago I hated the thought of getting wet, tangled in leaves and covered in soil. It didn't make sense to immerse myself in nature when I was already living in a separate world -- one bordered by 4 plastered walls, and a worn out rug on top of wooden floorboards protecting me from the brown, ‘dirty’ land below. Suburbia and river banks seemed so far removed from each other that I became oblivious to the connection between human and land. People of the west often create a wall that separates them from the natural cycles of life. The wall is steadily reinforced by values of consumerism and ever-growing to become aware of our actions and the impact they have on our land. Where is our human connection in that?
Connecting with nature is something I never thought would be a craving of mine. The zero-waste journey I have been venturing on for the past 4 months has led me to a realisation: that the organic waste I’m producing can be returned back to the land. The organic waste I was creating needed a place to go, so one solution would be to start a food garden. A simple cycle: My food waste fertilises the soil, food grows, and that waste returns back to the land -- a simple cycle. Let’s look at today’s average Australian household, for example. Those single-use plastics and aluminium warps are thrown into the plastic-lined bin, and thrown into the back of the trash truck, out of sight out of mind. In the landfill, tonnes of methane gases are produced and leaked into the atmosphere, the plastic chemicals leak into the soil, all until the packaging ‘fully’ degrades in just a few thousand years. Our food packaging inevitably poisons the soil our food grows in, and our society continues to become more and more disconnected from the waste cycle.
My simple waste cycle: DIY compost station made form 3 metres of construction wood. Once a slot fills with organic compost, I move onto the next. After 3 weeks I can start putting my first slot of compost onto the soil.
I wanted to learn about the basics of gardening and SEE my waste become a part of this sustainable cycle. Every meal, a banana leaf and food scrap are added to my DIY compost station. After 3 weeks, the organic mulch is placed onto my garden bed, and new foods grow: kale, carrot, quiabo, lettuce, rocket, and sunflowers. A mix of emergers (tall) and low plants help the plants grow in ideal conditions, and create a diverse environment that protects the soil fertility and nutrition of the food. Worm farming is also an essential DIY part of the project -- the worm ‘cast’ (basically a mixture of worm waste) is like gold for the soil, and imitates a microbe-rich soil environment. Only one month in, the sustainable garden is in progress. The total process is only takes three months from beginning to harvest.
It’s a weirdly satisfying feeling, getting my hands in the soil, seeing my waste return to the land, and creating nutritious foods for dinner table to share with my friends. A positive feedback loop that anyone can create themselves from the comfort of their backyard or community garden. A simple way to reconnect with land, and develop our human connection -- imagine if everyone grew their own foods, and learned how to nurture the land? We would live in a world that understands the simple connection between us and nature, and will be able to live on Earth sustainability. When the fossil fuels run out, the honey bees die, and natural disasters occur on a devastating scale, this connection may become our only chance at creating a ‘better’ world. Human connection -- a new currency for the new world.