Few days ago I saw a post in a social media by a person who is famous in the small sustainability sphere. He has organic backyard garden and grows many vegetables. He put a picture of him holding huge cauliflower in the middle of all the big leaves which we don’t see in supermarkets. Someone commented on it about the usage of those leaves. Many commented with their suggestions of different dishes. It was the answer of the sustainable gentleman which transported me 30 years back to my hometown…..
We had some super green traditions which were never written about but practiced every day in a most humble way. When we were kids no one had heard about composting . There were no consultants or composting industry but there was no waste problem and segregation was inherent.
When we were small and living in a not so big city in northern India, we used to have local milk-producers or “Gwalas’ ” in each and every locality and all of the people bought milk from them. Grandparents had the responsibility to pickup milk from the shed . Milkmen used to deliver too on cycles but people preferred to take it while cows were still milked . Many of us got better milk than others because of a small favor.
We used to put all the days kitchen waste(mostly peels) in a bag and hang it outside the house gate. These Gwalas’ used to take their cows for grazing and collected all such kitchen waste on their way back. Many times the bag was really huge after a day of canning peas or pickle making or having fruits like watermelons in summer. These were a boon for the milkmen . They did this honestly too. They picked up the bags only from the gates of their customers and leave the other bags for milkmen who sold to those houses. In a way we were making sure that the milk we consume don’t have toxic material in it.
Coming back to the sustainability gentlemen ‘s answer- He mentioned that all his kitchen garden waste which is not consumed goes to his milkman. He carries the legacy of our small town even in a big metropolitan city.
Most of the people in metro cities wont get this opportunity as they live in high rise apartment complexes and local sheds leave their cows on the streets to fend for themselves. Daily they will be seen eating from garbage dump consuming plastics. Residents of housing societies can come together for collecting kitchen waste for cows but are more interested in looking for new ideas to keep the associations working.(The famous composter advert by our superstar).
Some organizations as a part of their CSR send their cafeteria waste to piggeries . Its good but we don’t drink pig milk. We pay double the price for milk from nicely fed cows(so called grass fed organic milk) these days. Alas we have lost this practise and are paying for it too. May be it was destined for the emergence of a big industry called “Composting”. Vegans protest animal rearing because of land water and crops used to feed animals but will support methane generating composting.
After writing for several years now I have data to safely say that articles having innovation/new ways, tips have much more readers than articles which take a look in the past to discover solutions.
Moral of the story- “Most of times solution doesn’t need development of new technologies. It exits along with the problem. “
PS: Forgot to mention the finest quality cow dung manure for our flower pots at highly subsidised rates was available at all times .