Kheti Dharma Hai Vyapar Nahin – Farming is a way of life, a value system, and not just commerce.
To paraphrase Masanobu Fukuoka, Aman Bagh’s reason for existence is to “cultivate better human beings and not just grow crops”. This gives me the energy to evolve in a certain direction and, in addition to becoming a responsible farmer and consumer, it enables me break boundaries of caste, community, and the nation to connect with people across the globe who believe in a compassionate world free of coercive domination.
Our operational objectives at Aman Bagh are self sufficiency (‘no external inputs’) & sustainability (commencing a positive life cycle that is self-generative). Many more farmers – and consumers – in India think like this today, and India has the benefit that much of the world does not – thousands of years of organic farming practices mastered by our peasant ancestors. It’s exciting to be part of this movement, nascent though it is.
There is much that I need to learn about natural farming, and unlearn about ‘scientific’ pesticide and chemical free agriculture put forward by agricultural scientists and academics. The only way is to live the agricultural life, and practice, practice, practice.
The start point of this process of learning in May 2012 was to accept that I know very little about how nature keeps the earth productive. Then learn how this cycle takes place and mimic this at Aman Bagh; and re-discover and implement what my peasant ancestors practiced for a thousand years or more (in the same area where Aman Bagh is located). Another element of this process of self education was to look beyond what agricultural scientists and universities, pesticide companies, fertilizer companies and urban society feeds us (they need the employment, and the commerce) and start instead to listen mindfully to the rhythm of nature behind this confusing din intended to crowd out logical thinking and awareness
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kyGbevifc3U. This video is a useful overview of the organic farming movement in Maharashtra and states in the South of India. Farmers in Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, the Yamuna-Ganga alluvial plains in India where I hail from and where so much knowledge on natural farming is embedded in rural society, are too busy making money from selling their land and converting their life to the fast lane mimicking the rapidly burgeoning cities and towns. I’m headed in the reverse direction — artisanal, slow, and sustainable.