These volunteer farmers, men and women, established the ‘Tzu Chi Charity Agricultural Team’ in 2009, with the aim of producing the most healthy foods, free of pesticide and fertilizer. Tseng Chao-ming has been a member of the team since its inception; he farms strictly in accordance with nature.
"You need to remove the weeds because they tend to compete with plants for nutrients,” he said. “An eco-system is a wonderful chain of life made by the Creator. Any damage to the eco-system will affect the entire bio-diversity." This kind of farming, which does not affects the existing eco-system, allows an abundance of wildlife to flourish; among the greens, you can easily spot mantises, grasshoppers, ants and ladybugs. The volunteers farm organically, to nurture ripe, fertile soil that produces fruits and vegetables packed with minerals and nutrients.
Another volunteer is office worker Chang Kuang-hua: "we fertilize organically so the vegetables grow really well. See, so many of them have grown all at once. I believe that soil cultivation is essential." Getting his hands dirty has taught him many things: "you need to loosen the soil and introduce air into it, which will help the ground breathe and allow the roots to grow,” he said. “You can draw a parallel between that and human beings: when you are overstressed, you are negatively affected."
Tending the vegetables and fruits at the Sanshia chapter grounds has been rewarding experience for all the volunteers. "We are learning with Mother Nature how to live in peace with the environment,” said Chang. “In the process, you get to know yourself better too. It is a delightful experience."
It is a labor of joy and love. The volunteers have a great sense of accomplishment; as they work in the fields, they are also learning to cultivate their own hearts.
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