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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, July 07, 2010

Sardar patel farm

This is a 150 acre organic farm following bio dynamic farming principles right on the outskirts of Ahmedabad. This is run by Dr. Dinesh patel and his ultra energetic, dynamic wife. Dr.Dinesh, a cardiologist by profession has a clinic the whole of morning session. Then in the noon he goes to his farm and from then on ‘lives’ there.
We (me, K & S) knew it was a family farm and some of his family members were active in the farm too.When we asked him how many members of his family were living in the farm, he just gave a smile and coolly said “some trillions! Including the 11 laziest that see time and work, unlike the rest that work almost 24x7” . his mantra is give love reap heaps. Hde kept repeating that the love one gives reflects in the land and the plants. Such love has not just translated in to flora there is much fauna too! some 80 bird species is around there we were told.
The first thing we did at their farm was have lunch with them bcos it was his mom’s 80th birthday! Hmm..what a feast it was. We shamelessly invited ourselves for next day lunch too;-) The threesome of Dinesh Bhai, Jagrutiben and Alfi ben are not only fantastic hosts but amazing workers as we saw later. His house is like a museum, so neat and decorated with so many stalks and grains apart from many artefacts.
For an allopathic doctor to realise the ills of chemicals and then go organic was amazing. Here he also is a big freak decorative plants collector. He has some 100s of varieties of cycas and many crotons. Also in the list are very different and rare tree species. He even demonstrated grafting. He moves around with a clipper and keeps pruning plants/trees as he walks n talks.
They have built a big awareness and hence have hosts of people coming directly to their farm to buy organic produce. lots of people (many farmers from all around Guj and Maha) visit their farm regularly. On the day we were there a big contingent of MBA students from Anand had come!
To give it a gujju touch, this is not only ecologically sustainable but economically sustainable too. Their prices are very attractive. They mix traditional and mechanized practices. The best innovation is flushing the packets with Nitrogen and then packing. This way there is no oxygen in the pack for worms and insects to survive. Also N2 being a cooler gas, grains last longer in theior packs! What a double shot! He can infact patent it! I have heard of some grain storage yards in south America fully filled with CO2 and hence people will have to go in with O2 masks:-) But this is far out.
They also have another winner! They have a special technology with which they make their fruits (Amla, Mango and chikkoo) as powders, without losing the nutrients. This way the fruits serve beyond their seasons. Round the year nutrition! One can make juice or milk shake or just stir in water and consume.
They sell tons (yes 1000s of Kgs) of puffed rice and pounded rice (poha). Their simple and numerous value additions add economical value.
Another valuable tip he gave was that the grains are dry on new moon days and hence the seeds harvested on the new moon will live longer. On full moon, water table rises and so seeds planted then will germinate soon.Fruits plucked on full moon will be more juicy.
Unfortunately now their website, sardarpatelfarm.com is not working.
See here for some photos.

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