Editor's office: takes a village

Vishwanath Thange, one of every millionaire farmers in Hiware Bazar, sorts onions.

by Brent Cunningham

Our latest story, The Resurrection of Hiware Bazar, was from Possibly the longest time period in FERN history. In January 2020, Mumbai-based journalist Pooja Changwewala gave us some insight into the rise of Hiware Bazar from poor, hungry village to supermodel, both sustainable farming and a way to fight India's long-running disaster for farmers. suicide.

In February Greste agreed to be our companion in the Pooja story. Soon we secured a photographer and Pooja was planning her own reporting trip. Then, in fact, the world stopped — and so did our story.

Two years later, almost until that day, Pooja sent an email asking if we'd like to revive the Hiware Bazar piece. Honestly, I wasn't positive. I felt as if the world had changed; We've spent the past two years covering the devastating impact of the pandemic on the meal system, from the scandalous and murderous abandonment of farm workers and meatpacking staff by the large agricultural companies that hired them, to the endless scramble by stores and various teams to feed the growing diversity of the hungry. Despite all that, the narrative celebrating the recovery of a remote village seemed somehow inappropriate.

It was not. After consulting with Grist , we agreed to write the Hiware Bazar story.

The ensuing piece couldn't be more fitting. With farmers everywhere dealing with the growing threats of water shortages, deforestation, and excessive warmth, understanding how a village overcame all of these, and so many others, has been more relevant than ever. However, the echo of what happened at Hiware Bazar was even more profound, as America's dedication to “the freedom of a certain person” had largely failed in the nation, on a number of fronts, during the worst of the Covid disaster. As a result of this story, the village succeeded in collective action – sacrificing for the repeated good. A Hindi phrase for it, chramdan , may actually be “labor donation”.

As one of the villagers said to Pooja: “I think what he strives for is that no matter what plans and schemes were carried out in Hiware Bazar, the villagers did not consider them to be schemes of the authorities or schemes of village councils. They believed that they were bundles for their own growth, for the welfare of their families.”

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