While most 26-year olds have their hands full with meeting deadlines and keeping their work-life balance in order, here’s Divya Rawat, affectionately known as the ‘Mushroom Lady’, a young farmer who’s changing the world.
Rawat was deeply hurt to see migrants from her state working and living in miserable conditions in cities while villages in Uttarakhand turned into ghost villages, and was determined to help change this situation. After gaining her degree and refusing several lucrative job offers, she returned to her village in Chamoli to start a new source of livelihood that would empower her community.
She chose to take up farming, and settled on mushrooms as the choice of crop. Why? According to Rawat, mushrooms thrive in Uttarakhand’s climate, can be grown indoors easily and inexpensively, and garner impressive rates of return. After training at the Department of Horticulture, she learnt to cultivate varieties of mushrooms, including button mushrooms, oyster mushrooms, and milky mushrooms. Soon after, she started a mushroom cultivation business.
In just three years, her company has started making profits and the number of mushroom farmers in Uttarakhand has dramatically increased as well. By helping the locals find a sustainable means of livelihood, Rawat has been successful in curbing migration and by starting mushroom production units in ghost villages, has brought life back into them. She has also helped to create sustainable employment for women in her region.
Though she is the managing director of Soumya Foods, she continues to work alongside the local community, and her house serves as a learning center for those who wish to join her cause.
There are lessons everyone, regardless of age, can learn from the 26-year-old who changed a million lives. All it takes is grit, determination, and a little ingenuity. As Rawat says – and proved – “Sometimes the best solutions lie in the simplest of things.”
Stay updated on the mushroom mission by following Soumya Foods on Facebook.
Featured image source: The Better India
Written by Anisha Kashwani