Organic Farming And Production
Everything is organic at Umandawa, and no artificial fertilizer is used in the cultivation of fresh produce or paddy. There is lush greenery, and abundance of fruits, vegetables and flowers. Spice gardens and fields of ginger are also a part of the landscape. Fresh vegetables are brought into the kitchen to prepare meals every day.
Bio gas is generated on the property and is utilized to fuel the cookers. It is a self-sufficient cycle at Umandawa where everything is inherently linked with the environment.
On the upper level of the kitchen herbs and spices are dried and packed, fruit jams are made, other condiments and food items such as dried tomatoes, ash plantain, jak and even manioc flour are made and packaged. The Beekeeping unit collects bee honey and packages it in bottles and jars. Furthermore, coconut butter, ice cream, and various types of oil are also made at Umandawa.
Water purification is done at Umandawa as well, where all drinking water requirements are supplied from within. Water is bottled in large glassware ensuring that the environment too is taken into consideration.
The monastery has set an example of spirituality & social responsibility in promoting healthy wellbeing, with productions free of toxins at affordable costs, to reach many. Umandawa has provided many employment opportunities to the surrounding villages as well.
WHY WE INITIATED ORGANIC FARMING IN UMANDAWA?
If one needs to reach great heights in spiritual development, he needs to first care for his physical wellbeing. Food gives us vitality and if we are not consuming heathy food, we will not be able to focus on our mental well-being. This is why we should start consuming organic food instead of going after ready-made fast food items and commercially grown food which are loaded with pesticides. Organic food nourishes our bodies and gives us many health benefits. Organic farming is not new to Sri Lanka and it has been followed from ancient times. But it has been forgotten by many who are living in this country since commercial farming has been able to meet the increasing demand of consumer food items, especially vegetables, cereals and dairy products.
We at Umandawa wish to remind all Sri Lankans as well the rest of the world that it is about time we go back to organic farming methods. Many people have understood the negative impact of commercially grown food products and the harmful effects of pesticides. Umandawa initiated the organic farming project with a great vision to enable everyone to step in and start growing their own vegetables organically using traditional and innovative methods. We wish to open a training centre so that everyone can come to Umandawa and learn how to grow organic food. We are conducting this project not to earn profits or any monetary gains but to set an example to the rest of the world so that everyone can live a healthier life. Our organic products are available at the stall located next to “Ravana Asapuwa’ in Umandawa premises.
WHAT IS ORGANIC FARMING ?
Organic farming is a method of farming system which primarily aimed at cultivating the land and raising crops in such a way, as to keep the soil alive and in good health by use of organic wastes (crop, animal and farm wastes, aquatic wastes) and other biological materials along with beneficial microbes (bio fertilizers) to release nutrients to crops for increased sustainable production in an ecofriendly and pollution free environment.
As per the definition of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) study team on organic farming “organic farming is a system which avoids or largely excludes the use of synthetic inputs (such as fertilizers, pesticides, hormones, feed additives etc) and to the maximum extent feasible rely upon crop rotations, crop residues, animal manures, off-farm organic waste, mineral grade rock additives and biological system of nutrient mobilization and plant protection”.
IMPORTANCE OF ORGANIC FARMING
Commercial farming methods come with a host of problems including health-related diseases such as cancer, pollution, degradation of soil and water, and impact on domestic animals. Foods from organic farms are loaded with nutrients such as vitamins, enzymes, minerals and other micro-nutrients compared to those from conventional farms. This is because organic farms are managed and nourished using sustainable practices.
Genetically modified foods (GMOs) are contaminating natural foods sources at an increasing rate. What makes them a great threat is they are not even labeled. So, sticking to organic foods sourced from veritable sources will help to mitigate the negative effects of GMOs.
Organically farmed foods have a natural and better taste than the commercially grown food. The natural and superior taste stems from the well balanced and nourished soil. Organic farmers always prioritize quality over quantity.
When we buy organic food, it directly helps the local farmers and strengthen the local food enterprise and reduce the number of food items imported from commercial farms abroad.
Commercial dairy and meat are highly susceptible to contamination by dangerous substances. Drugs, antibiotics, and growth hormones are also injected into these animals and so, are directly transferred to meat and dairy products. These chemicals come with a lot of complications like genetic problems, cancer risks, growth of tumor and other complications at the outset of puberty.
WHERE TO BUY OUR PRODUCTS?
Umandawa Organic Food Stall and Book Store
If you wish to buy our organic products and fresh vegetables, please visit our onsite organic vegetable stall at the Umandawa Maha Vihara Monastery. Books and CDs of Siri Samanthabadra Maha Thero are also available at the store.
The Organic Farming Training Program
With a vision to build a community of natural farmers, Umandawa Maha Vihara Monastery’s environmental initiative has organized a Training Program for farmers as well as anyone who is interested in organic farming. If you wish to join, please contact our office.