Despite the challenges of growing rice and vegetables without any chemical inputs, we at Polwaththa are determined to try and succeed in Organic Farming. Our motivation comes from our ancestors who worked these very lands with only natural inputs and in harmony with nature for centuries. For us, it is a journey to the past.
We have leased out about 1 hectare of abandoned land owned by our villagers whose forefathers cultivated rice which the present generation is unable to continue. Since they have not been worked for decades, there is no trace of any chemical inputs which may have been introduced when last used – this makes it easy for us to start with a ready-made organic land.
9 months on, we have harvested a variety of organic vegetables and are poised to reap the first harvest of rice due in the middle of June 2023. There is a lot of excitement in the village at the prospect of going back to our traditional farming methods and with that, the age-old customs which the villagers cherish but unable to hold on to, due to the influence of modernization. To make that journey possible, we have constructed a few simple huts within the land in keeping with the designs of traditional buildings - sans electricity and motor able roads. The first re-planting of rice was done earlier this year in the most traditional manner with a large village participation in these huts to the amazement of the few lucky tourists who happened to be with us.
From the very positive feed-back of both the villagers and our foreign guests, we have realized the importance of this practice and have decided to open our organic farm to our Guests who wish to experience organic farming working side by side with the local farmers. We will provide the basic tools to work with, organic manure (compost) for the plants and boots where necessary. Since many of the guests would be first-timers, one of our English-speaking staff-members will guide them around. The program starts at 09:30 from Polwaththa and the group will walk the 300 meters with our guide. After a briefing, the guests will start working, alternatively, in both the vegetable and rice farms.
The work schedule will depend on the season and could be anything from preparing the land to reaping or drying the harvest (rice). The program ends with a traditional lunch cooked in the hut on a hearth – mostly rice and vegetables grown on the very land they have worked. Participation in the traditional cooking is an option – so is bathing in the sprout within the farmland. The cost for this 5-hour program, including lunch is US$ 30,- p.p.