I am really excited to be working on this project for many reasons. For my first post, I realised that I probably need to talk about myself in order to fully explain my enthusiasm for the study. I would much rather write about the research, the communities involved and the innovation of the farmers. Nonetheless for this entry, I will make every attempt to overcome my aversion to writing about myself.
However, this does raise one reason for my enthusiasm for this project. I get to travel to India! Lately, I have been reading about cultural value theory and the comparison between Indian culture and the culture of western countries. Valuing and doing what is best for the community appeals to me. As much as I love a sense of personal freedom, every day the community of which I depend is so vast. All the people involved in the construction of my bike, the roads, the railway and the trains that get me to work, and of course I am grateful to all the people who work to produce my food each day. This community that we never get to meet is truly amazing. Unfortunately, I think in the west we often ignore our dependencies and miss out on a deeper sense of community. Still, I have never been to India so these perceptions come solely from books. I am, however, ready to absorb the culture with my mind as open as possible.
I grew up on a farm in Manitoba, Canada. As a child, I loved the outdoors, animals and gravitated towards science, particularly biology. On our farm we raised beef cattle, chicken and my Dad grew grains and alfalfa. I did not have much to do with helping in the fields. When we had an ill or premature calf, I would take over care of the calf for my Dad. I became a vegetarian when I was around 12 years of age due to my love of animals. At the time, vegetarians were rare in rural Manitoba, so this decision was not understood by many people. I am also excited to travel through a country with so many fellow vegetarians.
I became interested in environmental concerns at a very young age as well. Family members suggested I study agriculture instead of biology. At the time, I did not want to work in farming; I wanted to study the wilderness. Interestingly from becoming a vegetarian and comparing the taste of fruits and vegetables straight from the garden vs. from the store, I became more interested in our sources of food. As well, I realised how much of an impact improving agricultural practices would have on the environment. Finally, I think in return for giving us good food, farmers deserve a good life. This research project addresses all of these elements.