Alappuzha: A young couple from Haripad has become a symbol of ecology conservation with their homestead and planting some 5,000 trees. Vani and Vijith met a decade ago at a nature camp in Thrissur while she was pursuing B.Sc at Agriculture College Mannuthy. Since getting married in 2010, they built a 4.5-acre forest-cum-farming nursery. They spoke to Deccan Chronicle on the occasion of World Environment Day.
Vani, who’s back home after appearing for UPSC prelims in Thiruvana-nthapuram the other day, is always passionate about agriculture. For her, becoming a civil servant is not a chase for glamour, but an opportunity to implement her green ideas. Daughter of a businessman and a high school teacher, she withstood their pressure to be a medical doctor.
Vijith came to her life, she says, like a wind that helped her fly high on her dreams. He, just like Vani, was too an ardent nature lover since childhood, although a B.Tech in mechanical and telecom.
The couple and their friends take part in plantation drives across the state. Vijith, the Sarojini-Damodaran Foundation’s best young farmer award 2018 winner, attributes the credit to eco-warriors, Shiva Prasad and Mohan Kumar. They were his teachers, often part of those camps.
“We had a common habit of collecting seeds and nurturing saplings, mostly native species like Njaval (jamun), Elanji (Bullet wood tree) and supplying them to anyone who wanted,” he says. “We were top collectors at those camps. She used to come to me for different kind of saplings and vice-versa. This habit subsequently helped in growing an organic bond between us.” Vani is his “guiding force,” whose vision, knowledge and experience helped him learn and understand farming more intensely. They started growing all kind of vegetables. With the farmland started yielding, the production grew beyond domestic need. They started first selling them through intermediaries. Soon they set up their shop named ‘Prakrithi Jaiva Kalavara.’ Now they sell some 3,000 saplings every month.
They plant saplings and encourages children and friends to make it a habit, rain or shine. “All these years that we have been together, both as friends and as spouses, she has been clear-headed about what she wanted and was better at decision-making,” he says. “Though I’d always liked her, I never gave serious thought to getting married until she proposed!”
They want to bring back different indigenous varieties of crops. They had just demarcated three patches in the farm to nurture fruit forests, keeping the onset of monsoon in mind....