Green Thumbs

“Plant what you eat, and eat what you plant”! Sowing the seeds in Thailand about the importance of nutrition and growing your own food has given little Borisut a green thumb.

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Hi, my name is Borisut and I’m seven years old. Welcome to my family’s garden!

Long ago my grandparents used to plant the vegetables in their garden all by themselves. By the time I was born, people from the city had built roads into my village and started hiring us to work in their fields and factories. My parents worked really hard in their fields, but our own gardens started to dry up because no one was there to take care of them.

Before long, no one in our village planted their own vegetables anymore and we had to buy all our food from other people. Dad said the produce they sold us contained chemicals from pesticides that gave me fevers and gave my younger brother rashes. Buying food cost a lot of money, so Mum and Dad had to work extra hard to keep us in school. Sometimes they didn’t make enough money to be able to buy meat, so we just had to eat rice and vegetables instead.

One day I was at the Compassion child development centre when our teacher said we were learning something new: planting a garden. They said they were going to teach our parents all about growing their own food again, and we kids would get to join in too!

Our centre director taught us a new motto: “Plant what you eat, and eat what you plant!”

He planted a large garden at the Compassion child development centre to show us how it’s done. My Compassion teachers take us walking through the garden, teaching us about all the fruits and vegetables. I’ve learned all about the different plants I can eat, how vegetables don’t need chemicals to grow, and how to help Mum and Dad in the garden.

Mum and Dad learned about gardening for many months. In the beginning, the gardens would die as soon as summer started. But as my parents learned about water conservation and storage, the gardens stayed green all year long! Soon we were picking our own food from the trees and bushes around our house.

My dad is a leader in our village; now other families come to learn from him how to have their own garden like ours. Our village is going to be swimming in pumpkins and bananas soon!

But that’s okay. When we have more fruits and vegetables than we can eat, the Compassion centre director helps us sell them at a small market he set up. Every day our mums and dads take turns sitting at our booth selling the extra produce to people from other villages. They like to buy from us because we know how to grow our gardens without using bad chemicals.

Since we stopped buying the plants with chemicals my fevers stopped and my little brother stopped having painful rashes. Dad says we’re healthier now, and also saving a lot of money! With the extra money we save and earn, we can now have more meat in our meals, and money for school supplies.

This Sunday our centre director said one of my friends needed food. His father is dead, and his grandmother just died; there is no man in the house to work for money. All of us who have gardens are going to be giving him fruits, rice, and vegetables that we grew ourselves.

Thank God for our teachers at Compassion who taught us how to grow things again, and thank God for blessing our gardens so we can bless those around us!

For the opportunity to give children just like Borisut the start they need to grow their very own garden, you can buy Veggie Seeds in our Gifts of Compassion catalogue and get a fun card for a friend!

Words by Jonathan L. Suwaratana and Monique Wallace
Photos by Jonathan L. Suwaratana

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