Farming, as we know, is a traditional occupation that’s been followed since time immemorial. But the organic farming concept is gaining prominence in India not only in the farming community, but also among the city dwellers as we can see a lot of individuals venturing into this fiel
So what is organic farming? According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) study team, Organic farming is a system which avoids or largely excludes the use of synthetic inputs (such as fertilisers, pesticides, hormones, feed, etc.) and to the maximum extent feasible relies upon crop rotations, crop residues, animal manures, off-farm organic waste, mineral grade rock additives and biological system of nutrient mobilisation and plant protection
Though the concept is not new to us, we are seeing a rise in organic farming, as it is the need of the hour. Consumers are becoming highly conscious about their health and the foods they consume — more and more people are opting for organic food to avoid the consumption of foods that are grown using chemical preservatives. Hamsa V, who runs a hydroponic farm called Growing Greens, along with co-founder Nithin Sagi, says
A time where more and more conventional farmers are opting out of farming, but the mouths to feed are increasing exponentially day by day, it is crucial that more individuals/government bodies should take up farming to maintain the balance
Taking the organic route In order to yield early and abundant produce, a lot of farmers in the rural areas have been using chemical fertilisers, pesticides and hormone applications — also due to a lack of knowledge. But this is gradually changing as more farmers taking the organic route.
There are also some urban Indians who have decided to venture into this field, either by producing or supporting farmers to yield fresh and unadulterated produce that is healthy for consumption. Also, with more number of people preferring to consume organic food, and with the number of organic e-commerce stores popping up in various cities, it seems like people are moving towards the right direction. After working in the IT industry for 18 years, Bangalore-based Laxminarayan Srinivasaiah, decided to take a sabbatical from work to concentrate on farming, quoting sustainability as the key reason. In 2007, there was a small financial meltdown and that’s when he started to think about job sustainability, which is what drove him to start farming.
One thing for sure about IT is that is getting monotonous and is not quite challenging. So, farming as a profession is an interesting alternative for sure, although I have to agree you can't earn money though. That's the irony, he states. Laxminarayan ventured into farming in 2008 when he started to grow vegetables on his rooftop. Gradually, he started growing plants on hilltops, and then graduated to grow vegetables with a few of his friends
At present, Laxminarayan and his team work on the concept of community farming, called Bettada Budadha Thota (BBT). It was started towards end of 2012 by a group of like-minded friends, many from the IT field with one person from an agriculture background. The farm is located almost 70-80 km away from Bengaluru. He says,
At her farm, Bhatia tries to combine indigenous wisdom with modern-day knowledge — she encourages species biodiversity, heirloom seed selection, home-brewed fermented manures as soil feed, fermented teas as sprays, celestially harmonious sows and crop rotation. Back2basics, which is the brainchild of S Madhusudhan, is an organic farm that produces high-quality organic fruits and vegetables, and the farms are spread across close to two hundred acres around Bengaluru. Run by a father-daughter duo, Back2basics supplies produce to reputed grocery chains, retailers, organic stores and gated communities in Bengaluru. Their produce is also exported to organic chains and retailers in other parts of the world. Another such venture is Organic Mandya, started by Madhu Chandan and his four member team in 2015. The main idea came from Madhu, who wanted to educate the farmers about various farming practices. After they created a society, they went on to buy the farmers’ produce and sell it, and that’s how Organic Mandya (located on the Bangalore-Mysore highway) came into being. So everything that the team and the other farmers grow in the farms, are packed under this brand
Going forward “Organic farming needs more knowledge, transparency and farmer-buyer relationship for the simple reason that you should know who is growing your food, where is it coming from, and how is it being grown,” states Kavya Chandra, founder of A Green Venture, an eco-enterprise that curates experiences and learning that connects one to natural, chemical-free food at farms, and influences lifestyle and habits through various workshops and platforms