The benefits of My SachaJi’s organic vegetable garden and orchard
This is not just any old vegetable patch…y SachaJi’s organic garden and orchard serves a variety of purposes. It’s a place of beauty, where guests can wander, enjoying an exhibition of nature’s finest art. Its tranquility makes it an ideal spot for meditation as the breeze rustles through the foliage bringing with it soft lavender scents. It allows all who pass through it to feel the raw power of nature, connecting to Mother Earth through the soil and the life it produces.
And of course, it bears fruit and vegetables, a living grocery shop from which My SachaJi’s chef can pick fresh produce each and every day. All kinds of lettuce, beetroot, Swiss chard, spinach, radish, squash, amaranth, quinoa, celery, parsley, cherry tomatoes, naranjilla and grenadine, tree tomato, avocado, all grow here, on a gentle slope overlooking San Pablo Lake.
What makes it special? First of all is its striking aesthetics, the spiraling patches sprouting exuberant greenery leading off a curving, meandering walkway.
“I have always been interested in Inca architecture and the round forms that developed in Ecuadorian territory,” My SachaJi’s owner and founder, María Teresa Ponce, told CLAVE magazine.“The organic vegetable and fruit garden was designed using five circles, which in numerology refer to the body. Five is also the number used in the proportion of a Doric column.”
Then there’s the fact its organic. No chemicals, no artificial fertilizers, no pesticides: just the nature materials provided by Mother Earth. My SachaJi’s gardener of six years, Armando Lozano, explains that the earth here is alive.
“Soil is a living being: it’s made up of microorganisms. They’re like insects that live under the ground. So our Mother Earth is a living being. That’s why we do organic fertilizing that doesn’t kill these insects, and cares for the earth. If there were no microorganisms the earth would be dead. If we put chemicals into it, it would die,” he says.
Armando has been practicing organic agriculture his entire life, using ancestral techniques.
“I’ve been working with the land since I was born, because my grandmother was a farmer. We worked with what God gave us, no training, nothing like that.
I learned about organic farming with my grandmother. She did all the fertilizing, tended to the chickens, the guinea pigs, the cows. Whenever we seeded she did it. But neither she, nor her ancestors, ever had training. They experimented for themselves. For example, to disinfect they’d just use ash,” he says.
It’s not just the earth that benefits from chemical-free farming. Research shows that organically grown foods reduce exposure to the carcinogens in pesticides; contain more healthy fats; do not contain dangerous antibiotics and can contain more antioxidants.
“It’s very important to have a vegetable garden. But it has to be organic, no chemicals. Why? Because chemicals bring on illnesses like cancer and allergies,” says Armando.
“But if you have a garden of organic fertilizers, you’re eating healthily, you’re practically feeding yourself medicine. Everything natural is medicine! Without realizing it, we’re curing ourselves.”
For Armando, organic farming and eating is by no means a fad, but a way of life, with guiding principles shared with the whole My SachaJi family: a strong connection to, and appreciation of the land; a rejection of the artificial; and a consciousness of what goes into the body.
“It’s marvelous working in the garden,” he says. “The vegetable patch, or the garden, or the earth, they’re part of me, of my body. I’m very content, very happy touching, caressing the earth. The earth, the wind and the sun are the key to my survival.”