With the turning from summer into fall, another farm season – and another season at MESA – has passed. While we are sad to say goodbye, our hearts are full knowing that our incredible Stewards are taking their experiences and energy to build the global food movement. This post features reflections on farming and the Center for Discovery from Steward Nilakshi Madushani.
First off, tell us about home.
I grew up in a village in Gampaha District in Sri Lanka’s Western province. One side of the village is surrounded by the paddy field. Behind the paddy field we have a stream. Now, not many people do farming as before. My father and my mother are retired. I have two sisters and one brother. My father does paddy cultivation and also has manioc and a small papaya plantation. I miss my family a lot. They are the most precious gift from God.
How did you first hear about MESA?
I heard about MESA from my office in 2012, and last year when MESA stewards came into my office. They all said “it’s a great opportunity we have had with MESA.” Now, I’m so grateful to be able to come here myself and train!
What inspired you to choose a path in sustainable agriculture?
We are now using so much pesticides in our crops, so the soil and the water is polluted. People get sick, and many have kidney problems because we are using more and more pesticides in the fields. Before MESA, my organization worked on those problems and did urban home gardening programs, and teachers and children’s training programs in organic farming. All these things inspired me to come to MESA, learn more and get a hands on experience.
What are you learning as a Steward?
I am happily placed with The Center For Discovery, where I work in the Healing Garden. We have 3 gardens. The staff care about the residents and the school teachers, and they all come to the garden to work with us. Plucking flowers, harvesting, putting hay on the beds and pathways. I enjoy working with them. We do bio-dynamic farming. So I am learning about bio-dynamic preparations, hydrosol making, biodynamic compost preparation and so many new herbs.
The Center has a Department call Department of Nourishment Art. They make different foods. I like their tuna salad wrap and every Friday they make pizza using our own vegetable and herbs.
The weather is changing all the time. I never check the weather at home like I do here. These days it is so beautiful, but some days are so hot. It is the start of the changing of the leaves. It so beautiful.
When I see the growth of the plants after we weed and water it feels so happy. the plant also happy because we care about it. As an example, I like fennel plant, when I see the plant with flowers and fruits. It so attractive. It makes inner happiness. The smell is so nice and there are bees around the place because there’s no pesticides. They are so happy. I would like to have my own garden after this. I will help my office to encourage people more with my experience too.
Anything else you’d like to share?
Thank you MESA staff to giving us this great opportunity. And also Mr. Jean David, Farm Manager, Mr. Patrick Dollard, Chairman and The Center For Discovery staff for making my training invaluable and also a protective area to live.