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When all trees have been cut down, when all animals have been hunted, when all waters are polluted, when all air is unsafe to breathe, only then will you discover you cannot eat money. - Cree Prophecy

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

from one farm to another

Life has been hectic and fantastic simultaneously- jumping from one organic farm to another..that means one interesting person to another..ultimately letting one wonder which is better- the farms or the organic farmers! No, am not going to answer that as am still confused on that..

Prahalad farm is one such impressive organic farm,8 kms before Thiruvannamalai at a place called Kadambai. This one is the ‘dream coming true’ farm of Sumitra who quit her metropolitan desk job (hey, a graphics creator & editor) and went back to her ancestral place. First task was to clear the stretches of Teak trees that had been planted by typical monocroppers as (ill)advised by govt/agri univs in those days. The wood from the 5 year old trees have been put to excellent use in a cool thatched 3 level ingenious construction that is used as living and storage space. The view from the “windows” on the 1st ‘floor’ of this building (if one can call an out and out thatched organic structure so)is wonderful. To add to the ingenuity at this structure, there is the triangular part that shall be opened out with simple rope mechanism. Whats on offer if opened is Arunachala hill on one side and farm on the other.

Most of the trees (Gooseberry, Sapota, coconut, plaintain, Guava, Pomegranate) on this 5 acre farm are young and healthily growing. In true Fukuoka tradition a small portion is left to nature and this part has produced healthy looking winged beans. At first sight there didn’t seem many to pick but once we started there were multiple handfuls of them – we would never find them in shops anymore. She luckily has the full support of her parents who help her in the farm although most of her “inorganic” neighbours don’t see sense in what she does. Her toddler is one of the few lucky toddlers in the world, eating nothing but farm fresh organic produce and having a 5 acre play space he shares with sparrows, crows, earthworms and crabs.

But what really set me thinking is that a new-to-agri young lady had the gumption and foresight to set up a Seed bank of the traditional varieties of rice and other millets. So she has earmarked an area for her seed bank idea(ls). For my part, i shall insist all my friends who visit there to support/fund that idea.
Another insight was how difficult it was to get labourers to work in the farms these days and how she was coping with some volunteers from Auroville (mostly foriegners, so sincere and hard working). That gives me a reason to start a database of volunteers to work at different farms and days shud come where there are more volunteers in my network/database than the number of organic fields around madras.

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