“Mom, can I pick the wild ones next to the oyster mushrooms?”
Nhai, 10-year-old, asked her mom Hang, a farmer in Fargreen network. Nhai was keeping her mother company when Hang watered and cared for the mushrooms. That's the scene I was lucky to see on my first trip to Fargreen’s branch in Thai Binh and it has stayed with me ever since.
I’ve been with Fargreen for almost a year and a half and whenever work got too busy or stressful, my mind went back to that very scene, which reminded me of my decision to choose this path, of the dreams and passions.
That afternoon, while sitting on the porch of the house Hang used to grow mushrooms with Fargreen, I listened to her story. Before joining Fargreen, she got into an accident and broke her leg. It meant spending a lot of time (and money) in the hospital worrying about the future as she needed a good health for farming as well as her seasonal work at a factory.
After she recovered from the accident, her ability to do labor work reduced so she started to look for something else. Living next door to Sim, Fargreen’s Farmer Network Coordinator, Hang got to know about the enterprise and its involvement with the farmers. She hesitated to apply to join Fargreen's Farmer Network at first as she thought her health would be a problem. She was, however, encouraged a great deal when Sim explained to her about the nature of growing mushrooms and what involved. She decided to give it a go.
“The two-month probational period was an interesting experiment,” Hang told me. The whole family was excited about growing mushrooms: her children ran to the mushroom house as soon as they got back from school, her father-in-law came to the house every morning to check if the mushrooms fruited well, her husband took over the heavy tasks like transporting the buckets of mushroom from Fargreen’s office to the house. The joy multiplied day in and day out!
Hang shared with me her content with the regular income from growing mushrooms and the emotional values from the work. She still remembered the first time she came to a meeting at Fargreen headquarters in Hanoi, a journey that left her feeling more knowledgeable and self-confident.
Now she goes to Fargreen’s office in Thai Binh most days, either for working the straw or preparing for new batch of mushrooms. Sometimes, she just likes to be there so she can help with whatever needed as she would miss working with the team otherwise. She loves that her work with Fargreen has a positive impact on her personal life and the environment as protecting the Earth is protecting herself and her family.
- Story by Dang Thi Hoa -