“Mother Earth is Our Home” – Creating an Organic Farm in India
“Only by organic farming in harmony with nature, can India sustainably provide abundant wholesome food and meet the basic need of all – to live in health, dignity and peace.” – Bhaskar Save.
This video tells of how one organisation, the Saha Astitva Foundation, is using organic farming methods to provide food and income for a tribal community threatened with economic poverty.
Because of the long dry season which means no water for seven months of the year, the people of Ganeshpuri have taken to desperate measures for quick and easy income: selling soil for bricks, poaching teak and working in the brick kiln industry. All of these income generating practices harm the environment and are not sustainable. Once the soil and teak have run out, the people will be left with nothing from which to generate income, and will probably end up in the Mumbai slums.
The organic farm, set up by the Foundation in 2009, looks to reverse the situation. This video is beautiful to watch and an inspiration in terms of how organic farming methods can truly regenerate an area. Using principles and guidance from Bhaskar Save, ‘the Gandhi of Organic Farming’, the Foundation are employing and training local farmers in organic farming methods to produce food all year round.
Bhaskar Save has farmed organically in India for the last 50 years. He tried ‘Modern Methods of Farming’ in 1957 for three years and realised that his profits were reduced by 20 percent (due to cost of materials like pesticides, man made fertilisers etc). He rejected the ‘MMF’ and returned to organic farming. He says:
“The objective is to live happily without the worry about where the next meal is coming from. The interaction of these 6 factors (of life) creates a self-sustaining system where fertility and water purification is taken care of by nature (by the Sun). No creature has the right to pollute the water supply or the air or living organisms which are found in nature. When we work in harmony, abundance follows. The fundamental point is, if nature can take care of all creatures, it can also take care of man.”
To read more about the project, check out the Saha Astitva Foundation’s blog. The Foundation is looking for volunteers, sponsorship seeds and equipment. If you want to get involved, there are plenty of opportunities.
What I like so much about this project is the belief and understanding that organic farming practices are completely valid even when the climate is not obviously conducive to year round farming. Organic living is sustainable living and works because as much as nature may sometimes cause problems, it also provides solutions.
The 6 Factors of Life
First understand what you must not do to disturb the 6 factors of life. Non-interference takes on the following principles:
- No creature is an enemy of another.
- In nature nothing is useless – everything has a part to play including the weeds! You cannot expect the help of nature if you violate God given nature.
- The yield of nature is not like manufacturing a product. In that all parts of the yield can be used. For example the bio-mass, once we’ve used the seeds and the fruit of the plant, the bio-mass can be used to regenerate the soil.
- Man has the right to the seeds and the fruit, but this is only 10-15% of what is grown. The remaining 85-90% can be used to regenerate the fertility of the soil.
- That which remains from the crop, the living creatures of the soil have a right to this.
- Farming is a sacred activity, and as it is looking after our very earth, it is very different to other business. Everything you yield is profit.
For more information on Bhaskar Save’s thoughts and approaches to organic farming see ThankIndia.Org. It really is worth reading.
Filed under: Organic Farming
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