Post date: Jul 24, 2015 4:07:15 PM
AP Chandrashekar is a household name in the organic community for the last 20 years and his farm INDRAPRASTHA is very systematically 'designed'.
Out of total 13 acres, 4 acres is meant to be 'grown' as a dense forest with coconut, areca nut, banana and lot of wild trees and plants. This area is fully rain fed with a lot of biomass containing several layers of compost materials. It is almost like a jungle with several feet high of biomass all over the place,
Adjacent to this, lots of fruit and vegetables are grown with a sprinkler system which feeds water during the summer season and rain fed. Here too, it is biomass and no-tilling. Farm tanks are located at various places where they dump leaves and organic waste in cow-urine, dung and water to have constant source of organic insecticide.
He believes in the philosophy - RESPECT THE NATURE. The farm contains more than 2500 different species of plants where the sunlight is harvested very efficiently.
There is a store inside the farm with over 100 items on the shelf. There is a notice board requesting people to pay the listed price considering the hard work and sweat that has gone in the farming to processing, and not resort to bargaining. This is probably because people may like the products but may bargain hard as prices are on the higher side compared to the prices in the regular shops.
There are products from every possible thing – there are standard medicinal products, soaps and toiletries, food grains, vegetables, fruits, jaggery, Jams, pickles, chutneys, juice concentrates, powders (sambar, rasam) and many more. Just to share the innovation of value addition – tidbits from orange and lemon pulp, sugar coated dried sapota, tamarind seeds and jackfruit seeds.
At Indraprastha, there are multiple potent forces in action:
- 200% passion for agriculture – a lot of native plants and crops are grown and at the same time many varieties has been collected from far off places
- A Mechanical engineering mind that has developed many appropriate tools and machines which make the labor productive and self sustaining for both farming and processing. Rain water harvesting and bio gas is leveraged well.
- Researcher and Scientist – has done lot of research (including from his homeland – South Canara) on the value added products in general and food, medicines in particular. Also, developed lot of new products
- Artistic – with the selection of ornamental and medicinal plants, designing the landscape, and using the buds of the trees, branches and other material for designing the artifacts. Garden in front of his house can leave behind any designer garden in front of corporate office.
- Teacher and writer – has written lot of books / articles on agriculture, food and health, has places for conducting training and workshops, quotes on the walls are truly thought provoking
- Last but most importantly, has an eye for consumers, market and economic value.
Directions to the farm are simple – From Mysore, take H.D.Kote road, after around 10 kms, on the left you will see a resort – Chitravana, adjacent to it, take a left turn to Kalalavadi, it is a neat tarred road. Drive for 3 kms, will pass kalalavadi village, and keep going, you will see some heritage farm on the left. Further down, you will see an entrance to Indraprastha – Sustainable organic farm.