Voskehat: Iranian-Armenian Preaches Clean Living and Chemical Free Farming
Vanik Keshishyan, an Iranian-Armenian farmer in the Armavir village of Voskehat, doesn’t believe in chemical pesticides or fertilizers.
He’s organic all the way. When he purchased the farm three years ago, Vanik wanted to show his neighbors that they could obtain a good harvest without the traditional use of chemicals.
Vanik has worked hard to turn his 9,000 square meter plot into a little oasis that stands out from the others in the area.
He’s has an extensive seed depository. Some are thirty years old, taken from his pristine plot of land in Iran.
“My objective is to show that we are at fault, not the land. We have created the biological and human diseases, by our incorrect lifestyle and behavior,” says Mr. Keshishyan. He believes that man’s desire for immediate gain has resulted in the use of chemical additives.
Armen Sargsyan, Vanik’s friend, says he has inexhaustible energy and works like lightning.
This year, the farm will produce sunflower oil. The fields are full of sunflowers.
The farm has two types of refuse dumps. One is for the refuse produced by the land, to be tilled back into the soil, and the other is for externally produced trash. Cigarette butts fall in the latter category and smokers must leave the fields before lighting up.
“It’s all soil, sun and water. It’s like nectar to the land and it all gets plowed back. This is nature, nothing else,” says Vanik’s friend Hayrik Abram.
Vanik had the same philosophy towards life in Iran. Everything grown on his chemical additive free five hectares is consumed by family and friends. Nothing is sold.
“This isn’t a business for Vanik. It all serves his vision. He doesn’t sell any of this produce, even when he needs the money and has to borrow from the bank,” says Hayrik Abram. Mr. Keshishyan makes his money by producing pastries and boxes in Iran.
Hetq readers were first introduced to Vanik Keshishyan in May 2016. As soon as fighting broke out along the Artsakh Line of Contact in early April, Mr. Keshishyan decided to go to Iran and collect whatever items he could to bring back and distribute personally to Armenian soldiers on the frontline.
Mr. Keshishyan left for Iran on April 4. On April 28, loaded up with homemade jams, fruits and vegetables, clothes, tents, sleeping bags, umbrellas, undergarments and other items, he started the trip back to Armenia. Unfortunately, when he entered customs he was told that he couldn’t bring the Iranian-registered car into Armenia because he has an Armenian passport.
After Hetq published Vanik’s story, the issue was resolved. It turns out that the car restriction was illegal.
Afterwards, Vanik brought special equipment from Iran to Voskehat to pulverize all sorts of vegetable and other natural matter for fertilizer. Everything natural is recycled and put back into the soil.
“There are two reasons for the outbreak of diseases. Our organisms are polluted by incorrect nourishment. The second is that our organisms are deprived of natural nourishment. That’s to say our stomachs our full, but our cells are starving,” says Vanik, who wants to spread his message of healthy living throughout the village and beyond.
Mr. Keshishyan also wants to open a vegetarian restaurant/wellness center in Armenia.
Vanik’s kitchen is a beehive of activity. The dolma (stuffed vegetables) are being prepared for guests. His recipe is a bit different. A filling of milled wheat, walnuts, spices and oil goes into the tomato and pepper shells. It’s to be consumed raw.
The roof of Vanik’s summer house is decorated with devices designed to transform the sun’s energy into electricity and hot water. Turn the faucet and hot water flows. The building has recently been renovated, but Vanik Keshishyan still has many projects in mind for his plot of land in Voskehat.