A group of 14 women from Village Aranoo in the Siachen Valley cuitivate native produce to sustain themselves. Siachen Naturals procures this yield to make delicious soups in select flavors with a blend of local herbs.
My story begins with a gap year I took in 2016. I went to an alternative school where I decided to walk out of the conventional education system and wanted to become a farmer. Additionally, I worked in the environmental sector for 2 years. In 2019, I left everything and went to my village to become a full-time farmer. Initially, I faced lots of hurdles in my endeavor due to a lack of experience in the said field. While I was learning farming from my parents, grandparents, and other villagers, people were not convinced to accept me in the field because of my age concern. I faced lots of problems because I was not able to earn enough to sustain myself. While I was involved in the farming sector, I learned that the farmers were contributing to the larger society by growing food. Even though farmers have been growing foods ethically still they are least respected among all the other professions. Farming is the most important thing in the world after stitching and building.
The people of my village have been practicing farming for a long time. They were not just growing food, we were growing all these organic superfoods. Amongst other produce, barley is one of the main crops grown on a large scale in my village. Barley is the main staple food of Ladakh. We prepare traditional barley soup, a centuries-old cuisine. People start their morning in every household with barley soups prepared with churpay, nuts, vegetables, and butter. It is served to every person regardless of age. It also proved beneficial to people with health issues. When we go to work in the field, we would always have a bowl of barley soup to last for the long tiring day. During harsh winter months, the soup helps us in keeping ourselves warm. It is everyone’s go-to food because it is easy to cook and it saves time and energy.