Telangana

From Green Bucks to Green Fields

Vaishali Konatham, the woman from Telangana engaged in farming in USA. | Photo Credit: ARRANGEMENT

Greenbacks are a bigger draw for Indians in the U.S. but through the green fields of Virginia, a Telangana woman is ploughing a new path in farming, inspiring the NRIs.

For many, an agriculture field might be just dirt but for Vaishali Konatham, it is a passion that she unknowingly picked up watching her father back in India. “Roots will always haunt you,” she told The Hindu.

For the software professional settled in Ashburn, Virginia, farming sooths the soul and eases the stress of an urban life. She started with growing vegetables in the backyard and that ignited the idea of serious farming that she experienced as a kid in her village, Mothkur in the combined Nalgonda district. Back home women play a huge role in farming but educated Indian women moving abroad taking up farming is a bit of blasphemy. How did she manage to come out of that mindset? “Scent of the fresh mud can never leave a farmer’s kid. And it’s kind of a tribute to my father who lived on farming and raised his kids on it,” said the M.Sc graduate from the Osmania University.

Sprouting Roots

Vaishali now manages one-and-a-half acres that she leased from an American farmer where she grows Indian vegetables. Vaishali has named her farm as ‘Sprouting Roots’. She recently introduced the cultivation of local vegetables and the local farmers’ markets have given her the space to sell the produce.

The growing season ends in September/October when it gets cold but the warmth of the Indian community that visits her farm to buy the fresh vegetables ensures she goes on as she juggles between the computer and cultivation. Her husband Sridhar Mogulla lends the helping hand.

The inspirational work has also caught the attention of the Loudon County Department of Economic Development, which works to promote agriculture among the kids. She is the only Indian among the 10 farmers nominated by the County this year. Her recognition also got accolades for her daughter in her school, something that makes the heart of Vaishali sprout with pride, like her farm aptly named as Sprouting Roots.


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Printable version | May 6, 2022 10:35:23 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/telangana/from-green-bucks-to-green-fields/article65382006.ece