By Aeon Mapa
Over the years we have heard stories of individuals who have decided to live totally off of the land. Those who have dared to abandon material posessions and live a simple, yet highly fulfilling life in solitude or in communitites of like-minded individuals. The appeal is in the freedom that comes with being self-realiant. Free of pressure or dependence on the outside world, this kind of life offers one a chance to simply live. These days more and more people both young and old, are deciding to return to and farm ancestral lands that had been long ignored as their families relocated to the cities. In the context of today’s world, this alternative way of life is even more appealing, as it can provide food security,freedom from restrictions and, if you have chosen not to, freedom from vaccination pressure.
Life in the city during a lockdown can be tough. During the most intensive portions of the last years lockdowns, many people were forced to stay in their homes for long periods of time. This can be especially hard on those living in apartments, some of whom would stay in their buildings for weeks on end. It is also very unhealthy for children, who require socialization and activity for their healthy development. Many young ones were trapped for days on end in households which were not accustomed to keeping them entertained for so long. Even when you do get to go outside you are constantly bombarded by temperature checks, logbooks and reminders to keep your mask and face shield in place.
I personally feel very fortunate to have been outside of the city when the lockdowns began. Living in a very rural area meant that my family and I were able to walk around outside without any protective gear. We were never once asked to wear a mask and most people chose not to as well. Children played together on the fields, parents sat side by side chatting, and life seemd to go on as normal. One thing I appreciated very much is to be able to see people’s smiles. The atmosphere is generally less tense and fearful than that in the cities, where police and security guards constantly enforce protocols. Of course there is also the benefit of fresh air and beautiful scenery. All of these contribute greatly to your emotional, mental and physical well being. There was also ample space to grow our own food.
As this COVID situation evolves, it is becoming increasingly difficult to forsee what the future holds. Here in the Philippines, there have been already been several attempts to pass inhumane and oppressive laws that will require a vaccination pass to move freely and access essential goods such as food. As lockdowns and restrictions change, food deliveries and services are sometimes affected as well. The only way to create resilience for yourself and your family in the current situation is to achieve food security. You do not need a lot of space to do it; 100 square meters, planned carefully, can provide for most, if not all of the needs of a small family.
Growing your own food can be easy with practice, and is very fulfilling. By doing this one can be sure that there are no harmful chemicals in their food. Even if you are not yet growing enough to provide for all your needs, you will find that in rural areas there is also rich supply of fresh produce grown nearby.
Perhaps you are living in a city and you are sick and tired of the lockdown. Maybe you have a small piece of land back in your home province that you have always thought about. Do yourself a favor and give it a shot. In our current situation, a simple life on the land is more beneficial than ever before.
I grew up in Makati city, the most urbanized place in our country, and lived there till the age of 27. In my past five years living on farms I have never been healthier or happier. So if you have an opportunity why not give it a shot? You may even find that you’ll never want to go back.