A slice of rural life

Many burnt-out professionals are are learning to communicate with nature by opting to learn farming and sustainable living.

With our regular jobs, one is barely left with enough energy to go out and explore. However, taking some time off, Bengaluru offers one ample scope to you make some serious progress learning about farming and sustainable living. Whether you want to learn how to make a nursery, rear farm animals, till the fields or plant millets – it’s all here! The multitude of farms in and around the city offers one the perfect chance to indulge in the real Farmville experience. IT professional-turned-farmer Srikanth started Vanashree in 2005, at Marasarahalli, only 50 kilometres from the main city.

“Our dependency on the grid is minimal, with solar-based lighting and gobar gas fuel for cooking. Cows, ducks and chickens are reared on the property,” explains Srikanth, listing the basic requirements to run a farm in today’s environment. From organic and natural farming by actually getting one’s hands dirty, to plant identification and infulging in bir watching – this venue offers it all.

Navadarshanam on the other hand only encourages serious volunteers, not the average tourist. Partap Aggarwal, one of the founders, even brought out the Indian edition of the Fukuoka manual ‘One Straw Revolution’. “Our motive is to help people pick up some effective techniques and processes. Not the too extensive ones and the food is basic vegetarian,” says Aggarwal. Oriented more with serious businesses, they provide value-added farm products that offer healthier food alternatives in the Bengaluru market. “We have programmes for groups on request,” adds Partap.

Aranya Eco Village, started by Rajnish Kumar, is another model of similar sort. They suffered immense recently due to heavy rainfall. Located in Anchetty, they have successfully raised some donations to rebuild the area. “Activities like heavy lifting and hard working toiling under the sun are our daily routine. Brilliant food, peaceful evenings and a lot of local love from the villagers is something we absolutely guarantee,” says Kumar who also aims at introducing localites to low-energy house construction techniques, water/soil conservation, solar design and basic permaculture.

Among the other equally widespread and greenery filled options are Hamsah Organic Farm. Known for its seasonal mango harvest and an interesting assortment of produce, they attract visitors all over the weekend for their zucchini, lettuce, rosemary and passion fruit. SwaYYAm, another similar initiative under Malvikaa Solanki runs a project called Rangaayana, an effort to revive music, dance and folk traditions. Like Hamsah’s owner John Fennessy rightly says, “A slice of rural life well within city limits is perfect for a wind down. Get to use farm equipments, walk some animals and cook bajjis; it doesn’t get better than that!"

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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