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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

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Fukuoka’s dream: Do nothing Natural Farm on the outskirts of Bangalore!

N R Shetty, one of the founders of Sahaja Samrudda (a grassroot organization working to convert farmers to organic farming, help them sell thru their outlet and also establish seed banks) lives his dream! In the outskirts of Bangalore, in nelamangala..A fantastic 1.25 acres farm called Nava Nandana, this is a heaven created with nothing but nature and efforts of Shetty and his wife.

It’s a ‘do- nothing” farm like we all hear and read, often quoting Masunobu Fukuoka, that is being practiced here with ease.
This land/grove is only rainfed. There is no bore well or electricity (for farming purpose!)..so no irrigation or watering plans..its all taken care of by the rains/nature. Even for their drinking and washing purposes, rain water is harvested! A 20000 litres capacity sump collects all the rain water and that is the only water source for their living! This is to serve them between rains which could at worst be 3-4 months!

This is more of horticulture farm, obviously.
Do-nothing-farming does involve a lot of initial work and patience. Of course they did water (using ingenious drip technics like placing earthen pots neck deep in soil next to the roots zone or by burying small pipes vertically and pour very little water thru them directly to the roots zone!) in the initial days. All this only for the first 2 years of planting and only in the 3 summer months. That was a full 6 years ago!

Now this is a green heaven (not a square inch of soil exposed to the sky – lots of perennial legumes aka nitrogen fixers), with so many fantastic trees, plants and more useful green manure usually called the weeds by the ‘educated’ and universitywalas! Most of the trees one gets to see here is planted..of course some by birds!
In all some 35 fruit varieties, some timber trees, lotsa shorter duration plants, fence tress, fodder ones like Glyrecedia, greens, creepers, vegetables, are all there. Amazing number of diverse tree species in 1.25 acres.
They also grow some pulses and grains like ragi. So only some items like rice, oils come from outside world.

There are varieties of small cute ideas implemented to enable various beneficial activities in the farm. Simple inverted coconut shells to attract and house wasps, intelligent mixing of plants like castor to attract the pests towards itself, casurina trees that act as wind breakers and are home to fungi etc. The outer periphery had various trees to act as wind breakers and a trench to trap rain water and prevent erosion.

The sapota we plucked and had from the trees were one of the sweetest I have had in my life. As they say the fruits from rainfed wud be the sweetest! How true!!
There was the tree (creeper) potato to satiate the exotic’s thirst!

Shetty cutely says “ if you provide shelter and food (for other organisms like in a fence crop etc) our shelter and food shall not be disturbed or touched”. How prophetic and true!
Simple philosophy is to let nature ‘be’ and he says its so easy and u can never go wrong.

By far, one of the best natural farms visited in all these years. The catch is the number of species and the green cover one sees here.

Way to go Shettyji! Fukuoka will be happy.

For fotos see here!

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