Organic Farming

The first project of the Ashram is the Organic Farm, the first of its kind in the area.

In this area of India, organic farming is quite rare, especially for ‘cash crops’. Since the ‘green revolution’ of the 60’s, more and more farmers use chemical fertilizers and pescticides. This has slowly killed almost all life in the soil. These crops only grow on chemical nutrients and are sprayed so that no other life form can take hold…

The international market and big companies like Monsanto have a strong hold over the farmers. Their hybred seed variants are sold to the farmers. The farmers have to buy the fertilizers and pesticides that go with these seeds, and they cannot gain new seeds from their own crops. Thus, they become dependent on these big companies. Of course, they start working with these seeds for the hightened production. But as the produce grows, the prices drop. A few farmers make some extra money the first few years. The other farmers have to follow because prices start to drop as the production increases.
One of the main problems is the fact that there is no seperate market for organic and traditional variaties of crops and the new hybred veriaties which are much lower in nutritional velue but higher in produce. So, most farmers are pulling the short end: the real financial profits go to a few big multinational companies that don’t seem to care much about health, nature and community life.

We want to work with the people in the area and gain the confidence that it IS possible to grow organic produce. We try to reestablish a sound relationship between farming activities and nature. Of course, the national and international forces at play have to be considered. But it seems there is a growing awareness about organic production, even in India, so we are striving to sell our organic products at higher prices to compensate for the extra labour and costs it takes to grow them.

What we have been doing:
– We grow organic crops to gain experience and to prove to the farmers it IS possible
– We have established contacts with other organizations (like Navdanya) that work to promote organic farming and the right to produce seeds
– We have created a ‘gowsala’ (cow-home) where Indian breeds are kept and treated with love and respect.

What we hope to work on in the future:
– Organizing training programmes for farmers
– Setting up a micro-financing system for farmers that want to change to organic production

– Setting up a seed bank for free distribution of traditional and improved organic seeds

If you’re interested in this aspect of the ashram, if you want to share something with us or receive some more information, feel free to contact us!