June 20th – 22nd Valerie, Caroline, and myself took a trip to with Alex. We went to the Gao Family Farm, which is located in the city of Anlong. The Gao’s farm is all organic and fully self-sustainable. Everything at the farm gets used in some form…EVERYTHING. The human waste, from what I understand, is used to make gas for electricity. It is really quite incredible…and stinky to be honest.
The first 24 hours were a bit rough. There was mouse poop in the bed I was supposed to sleep in. Then later a monster spider perched its cute little self right above my bed. It was not a pleasant first night. I was wondering what the point was of us being there and what I was supposed to learn. The next day we met Grandma Gao and everything changed. This woman is incredible. She is a little energizer bunny. She is full of life and shows complete excitement when she talks. We were able to get the field prepared to plant eggplant.
After lunch we went out and started helping Grandma Gao plant eggplant. It was so much fun. It was also ridiculously hard work. Little ol’ 71-year-old Grandma Gao was just working away, putting the rest of us to shame. I remember thinking that night how hard it is to run an organic farm. There is so much to be done at all times.
I also thought about my personal life. It is much easier to skimp on important parts of life, like proper nutrition. I have convinced myself that I do not even have time to cook a healthy meal and that I should just eat Ramen noodles. This experience has shown me my laziness when it comes to my nutrition. I think that will be a major take away from this experience. I need to make the time to cook healthy foods. I need the time to focus on something other than school and responsibilities, and just enjoy myself while cooking.
Grandma Gao has an amazing soul. I am so thankful to have met her. She walked around Monday morning with us and explained different vegetables and what they use them for. She also told us about the work that needs to be done. We helped her pick some pears. It was so fun. I have always loved gardening with my dad, so this experience made me feel very close to him. Grandma Gao was kind of enough to teach us how to make tofu and soy milk. It was incredible, absolutely incredible! I have always enjoyed sitting at my kitchen counter and watching my family cook, I felt right at home in Grandma Gao’s kitchen.
The food was amazing! All vegetarian food made
out of fresh organic vegetables. I was in heaven! It was nice for the first time being here to not worry about food. It was great! Grandma Gao even taught us how to make Baozi which is steamed bread with veggies in the middle. They were so good! All in all, the trip was great. I am thankful I was able to see what it is like for a family to be self-sustained. It takes a lot of hard work, but the payoff is priceless.
I also got to meet some very adorable puppies and a kitten.