When Shreya moved to San Marcos with her family in 1979, there weren’t any Indian grovery stores within a 3-hour drive. They weren’t able to find the vegetables they were accustomed to eating, so her parents grew what they needed. They had a huge garden – like the size of a backyard!
Not only is gardening a wonderful way to grow hard-to-find foods, but it is also very beneficial as it lowers your risk of diabetes and can lower stress as well. Years later, Shreya now has her own garden where she grows the same vegetables - okra, chinese bitter melon, ivy gourd or “tindora,” taro leaves or “patra,” and green flat beans, also known as helda beans. For Shreya, her love for gardening is a connection to her parents.
As we all know with gardening, pests are not too far behind! And for Shreya, she was not interested in using chemicals to eradicate the bugs. When researching how people take care of bugs naturally, she came across Korean natural farming (KNF). KNF is an organic agricultural practice that takes advantage of indigenous microorganisms -- bacteria, fungi, nematodes and protozoa -- to produce fertile soil that yield high output without the use of herbicides or pesticides. In other words, it is a natural way to eradicate pests with beneficial microbes.
She created her first batch of microorganism cultures from rice water! Thinking about how biofilm catches hair and gunk in drains, she used the rice water to see if the beneficial microbes could cut through that biofilm and clear her drains. And guess what? It did!
Beneficial microbes, or probiotics, were the answer. In the garden, on the counters, in the sink, on the sponge, in the drains…the list goes on and on!