Farmers all over the world are struggling against forces many of them know little about. Their day-to-day equips them to anticipate and adapt to changes in weather patterns. But, far more than the challenges of growing food, farmers are straining under the weight of an industrial and economic system that is incompatible with nature.
This struggle has manifested in India in different ways. In Delhi, India’s capital, the male to female ratio is 8 to 1. Men from all over India have flooded this city in hopes of finding a better paying job than what is offered in a rural setting. Most of these men are farmers, who have left land upon which their family has farmed for thousands of years because the consistent monsoon rains, a steady part of Indian climate, have been inconsistent in recent years. This has caused farmers, whose technique relies upon rains, to reach the harvest with empty fields. This situation has also had real human consequence. Tragically, it is estimated that in the past decade over 200,000 farmers have committed suicide.
Innovation is needed; new ideas that can adapt to the changing environments. But more than innovation is the need for a revelation in ethics that places people as the most important element of farming. I myself am experiencing an ethical paradigmatic shift that comes about from a proper learning of God's word, one that helps us see our world and understand the story behind what we see. When I first came to the community of G.O.D., I came to learn the Bible. I had no intention of living in India, learning about small-scale agriculture or understanding food policies. But learning about a God who desires for the oppressed to be educated, liberated, and humanized is changing me.
I find myself going through the same processes of learning that Jesus' disciples did, a process I will continue this summer in Antioch and in India. I continue with the realization that becoming an expert in agriculture will not save the world, but becoming like Jesus, alongside a community who is doing the same will thrust us towards that goal.
While in India this summer I will have the opportunity to meet farmers who are experiencing struggle in real-time. I hope to capture their stories and lessons in my heart to become something more for God to use in helping the poor of India.
by: Joshua Nava