We are building a food forest and kitchen garden for ourselves at Papanasam, Tirunelveli, Tamil Nadu, India since July 2018. We have been focusing on adding a lot of carbon / organic material to the soil. That’s why you will see photos covered with neem, mexican sunflower and glyricidia. We have let the old neem trees thrive and we chop and drop them for mulch occasionally. We collect mango leaves fallen from our trees and saw dust from a nearby carpenter to make Compost piles with the dung from our cows, slurry from our biogas plant. We compost our own poop both aerobically and anaerobically : poop produced by all mammals – humans and cows alike. We use firewood from the farm to cook a little bit of rice for the cows. Mulching and composting are the easiest and biggest tools against climate change, right now, IMO.
We trust people over machines. We have kept the use of heavy tillage and excavators to the minimum possible. Yet we have been able to commence a healthy multi-layer agro-forest in 2.5 years. It is a long journey to go. Just about almost everything that we are doing may be against conventional forms of agriculture. We are building long term resilience for our food, water, shelter, soil, climate etc.
We built a cob house and moved in in the month of August 2020. So, we have started to focus much more in agriculture now. As soon as we moved into the farm, we have planted flowers and herbs to invite pollinators to our farm and make our surroundings smell nice. We have started to give more care to the trees that we had planted before the last 2 monsoons and the ones that were already existing prior to the land purchase.
We are now building banana circles using grey water harvesting, 2 mandala gardens which will be our kitchen gardens in 0.1 acre, raised beds of multi-layer gourd+ginger+greens+papaya in 0.1acre, 1 acre of cereal crops during the north east monsoon, upgrading our small coconut, timber and fruit orchards of 1 acre each. Lots of experiments happening!
People interested in helping us in this journey to build a greener future for our planet in the next few months, please get in touch with me on firstname.lastname@example.org
Scroll through the photos to know how the farm is shaping up to be. The photo series is like a photo walk. Please share this photo with your friends especially in Tamil Nadu.