Halloween: Some lessons for Indian Farmers

Sunday was Halloween and Halloween all the day. Halloween means pumpkin. One can find all regions dotted with pumpkin patches. Yamuna had a query. Has it got something to do with farmer? She says she smells of a pre-diwali ritual in rural Bihar in Halloween. I can’t say anything affirmatively. Here is a statement from web.

“Long ago, the Celts of the British Isles used cross-quarter days to mark the beginnings of seasons. Winter began with Halloween, or as they called it, Samhain.”

“Halloween marked the transition between summer and winter, light and dark — and life and death. On that one night, according to folklore, those who had died during the previous year returned for a final visit to their former homes. People set out food and lit fires to aid them on their journey — but remained on guard for mischief the spirits might do.”

I started the day with putting a note in face book. It remembered my mother and her liking of pumpkin, Kumhra. She used to grow one or two plants in her courtyard using the roof for its growing. Output was so huge that she could go on giving them to all whom she liked or who asked for it. Some were sent to even relatives in other villages to serve the marriage party. There are many such plants that can sustain a small family. I don’t know why it is not grown and marketed in our poor country.

On Saturday, we visited a pumpkin patch and bought three pumpkins for $16. One can notice the ad in the photograph. A day before, Shannon had gone along with Emma to a farm. KID r Kid, the daycare school of Emma and Zach organized it. As I could understand, the farmer got paid $10 for each visiting person. Shannon was complaining that the farmer would have at least arranged for toilet facilities for those kids. With bus load of kids coming from three different schools, the farmer made good money may be up to $500-600, and the kids got firsthand knowledge of the farm, cattle, and perhaps farm equipment such as tractors. It is win-win for everyone. I am sure the farmer could have marketed some product of daily domestic use.

Farmers in India must also emulate and innovate on the potential for rural tourism and look for the guests who can add to their earning. It can create some employment too. The villages near the metros and other bigger cities with large number of rich private schools have this opportunity. There can be hundred and one ways to create some business activities in rural India that improves the engagements of the people there.

Someone can pioneer and create a museum of the evolution of the farming over the years in his plot of land with exhibits of say, various ways followed over years for irrigating the land.

Petty farmers in US as in India or for that matter of any country are poor. They look for adding to their earning. Here is a story.

Lafranchi runs a dairy in the tiny western Marin County hamlet, and fluctuating milk prices had put his livelihood at risk. So a little more than 10 years ago, he turned to an organic farmer to help convert a flat parcel of land into a field of pumpkins and other vegetables.

Every autumn, Lafranchi’s land bursts with the colors of the harvest and the sounds of happy children picking pumpkins, going on hayrides, getting lost in mazes and bouncing in an inflatable jumper.

And in afternoon, the Harmony community had organized a Halloween Parade. I joined it with Emma and Shannon. Anand couldn’t as Zach was asleep at home. There was a good gathering, but unfortunately the function lacked organization. Someone would have taken lead and planned the function.

Surprisingly, a large number of those attending the function were from India. I met with few. But I don’t know why the Indian youths are hesitant to have social contacts. This was a good opportunity to have it, but I didn’t see anyone trying for it. Everyone was just mute spectator.

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