Inspired by Prem Rawat’s vision that peace is a fundamental need for all people The Prem Rawat Foundation (TPRF) helps to make his message of peace available to people throughout the world and to support efforts to provide nutritious food, clean water, and eye care to people in need.
The Healing Power of a Vegetable Garden
The Prem Rawat Foundation (TPRF), in collaboration with its partner AmericCares, funded a vegetable gardening project to aid the small city of Rikuzentakata, Iwate Prefecture, Japan after the Tōhoku 2011 earthquake hit the city.
Ramona Bajema, Senior Program Manager/Japan talks about the “health and well being effects” the program had on this small community as they gathered for a “Cabbage harvest and pickling party” on December 2nd, 2012.
The day was described as a beautiful day, not a cloud in the sky, its splendor expanding over Hirota Bay and what remained of Rikuzentakata city. Some of the volunteers congregated an hour before the event to harvest cabbage and make tsukemono (pickled vegetables). There were old members and new members joining the group, about 25. The community center was filled with fun and full of activity. Residents contributed to the festivities each in his/her way. Including a 98-year-old woman who peeled garlic to add to the tsukemono.
As a group they walked down the hillside to the garden. They wasted no time in starting. They harvested cabbage, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower and kind of “potato” that is eaten raw but tastes like an apple. These vegetables were then divided put into bags and distributed for everyone to take home. Everyone had worked hard to harvest the vegetables in time to prepare the Tsukemono for O-Shogatsu, a New Year’s tradition celebrated at home with family. Food is the center of the celebration and pickled vegetables are a very important part of this feast. The food is prepared days in advance so no one is cooking during the New Year’s holiday. While the group would still be living in temporary housing again this year they had the vegetables to eat, vegetables they had grown harvested and prepared.
With the harvesting and pickling celebration coming to a close and all the cleaning up finished, the group went inside the community center. Some of the staff members had brought snacks to share, cabbage with soy sauce and mikan, a Japanese tangerine, a sweet winter fruit. They were proud to share the fruit of their labor.
The community center was full of conversation, accomplishment and laughter. In the previous year it was hardly filled with participants. The few who were in the center sat quietly drinking tea. Bajema remembers in delight one woman in specific whom the year before found it hard to walk around Mobiria had now become a pickling leader. The healing power of this vegetable garden was evident in the smiles and flushed cheeks now shared by its participating gardeners.
Born in India, Prem Rawat, widely known by the honorary title Maharaji, began speaking about peace at a very young age. As a child, he astounded and delighted audiences with his wisdom and ability to shed light on some of life’s deepest mysteries.