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Responsible farming near Bangalore

March 27, 2009

We’re in Hessarghatta, an hour or so south of Bangalore in a rural area of the Deccan Plateau. It is a very parched landscape. The Arkavathi River, which once ran through it, is now completely vanished year round. And because the land prices here have risen so dramatically in value (due to its proximity to the thriving city), many farmers who benefited from a government law enabling them to own their own land, simply sold off portions at vast sums. These new millionaires are undisturbed by the cost of water and waste it liberally, knowing that they can buy in more from neighbouring states or dig boreholes for more.

The boreholes must descend hundreds of feet, though. There is hard granite for 400ft before the fossil water begins. And this ancient aquifer will not be replaced by monsoons or anything else. Pumping, especially from such depths, requires a lot of energy and with power outages of 13 hours a day here, farmers are getting pretty vocal about their shrivelling crops.

There are a handful of water-concerned people, including Ambika, a former teacher from Chennai who moved to the district to run an organic farm that is next to an eco hotel. She uses rainwater harvested from the hotel’s roof and has ingenious ways of using every last drop, including drip irrigation and canal systems.

Having no knowledge of farming when she arrived 6 months ago, Ambika approached scientists at the locally based Indian Institute of Horticural Research, “but they were of the Green Revolution generation and didn’t approve of farming without pesticides or chemical fertilizers”. Nevertheless, she stuck to her ideals and joined a community of organic growers in Bangalore.

It’s great to see her vegetable plots and remarkable yields, but as with organic farming elsewhere, it is niche, prohibitively expensive and even convincing her farmhands of the method has been a continual struggle.

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14 Comments leave one →
  1. Naveen permalink
    November 18, 2009 4:24 pm

    Hello,
    My name is Naveen and i am interested in concept of organic farming in and around Bangalore, India. I cam across your very intriguing article about this organic farm near bangalore. Could you help me get the details on this farm (Address, contact information).

    Thank You
    Naveen

    • June 17, 2012 5:10 am

      HI Naveen, Even I live in Hessarghatta and practice organic farming…what are you looking for? there is an active group in Bangalore sharing and discussing organic concepts. Recently started a blog…http://myearthkitchen.blogspot.in/
      Arati

  2. john permalink
    December 22, 2009 12:05 pm

    ironically, my wife and i have an organic farm outside of bangalore, which we’ve been tentatively calling “Gaia”. we’ve just been there for over a year, but have been having a lot of success as a WWOOF host farm- hosting more than fifteen guests over the months of November/ December 2009. We’ve been busy planting forest and fruit trees, growing organic ragi and peanuts, developing vegetable gardens and making natural guest houses. We’re located just behind Delhi Public School East, off of Sarjapur Road in a village called Chokkasandra. We’re open to all who are curious and interested in organic farming and sustainable living. email me at jfennessy@gmail.com

  3. Dilip Patel permalink
    September 4, 2010 12:02 pm

    Namste,
    I am dilip Patel from Gujarat and I want to know about organic farming so give details of this knowledge.

  4. bharath.r permalink
    September 4, 2010 12:51 pm

    hello ,
    my name is bharat. i am from kolar dist, i want to organic farming so i don’t no about that . i very interested in this field. i have 3 cows . my other friends are doing rabbit farming near my village . i want to do organic farming & fishery . can you able to help .

    • Gaia permalink*
      September 4, 2010 3:14 pm

      Good luck with it Bharat. I can’t offer advice on organic farming, I’m afraid. Why don’t you contact your local university or local government offices.

  5. Y.Nandakumar permalink
    April 9, 2012 7:39 am

    My name is Nanda. I am from Hindupur Dist, I have 2 acres of land and interested in any kind of Cultivation, farming, fishery . Can you guide,advice me regarding any of these.
    Thanks

  6. ram permalink
    June 3, 2012 3:27 pm

    Do you have any data/evidence to prove that Bangalore is using fossil water?

    • Gaia permalink*
      June 3, 2012 5:17 pm

      The city has been using fossil water for some time now, partly because of poor management of rainwater and the extensive use of concrete which prevents monsoon downpours from replenishing the groundwater supplies.

  7. June 25, 2012 2:56 pm

    If you want to Know about Organic Farming I am Ready to Help you every one . we are Distributor of Organic Fertilizer which Approved By Karnataka Agriculture department. More details about Product check website http://klinkagroindia.blogspot.com or call me any time +919035770885.

  8. Surendra permalink
    August 17, 2012 2:29 pm

    Hi Arati,
    Been through your blog,I am planning to start organic farming.Though my father was farmer, I have very superficial knowledge on this subject.before I start this project, I thought I should talk to people who have already ventured in to organic farming and gain some knowledge. Can me and my family visit your farm. I leave in Banglore-Koramangla.
    -Surendra

  9. anjaneyasonu permalink
    May 9, 2015 12:48 pm

    Great to see organic farming is entering Bangalore in a big way at many levels by many people who have take initiatives.

  10. Neelkant Rajaghatta permalink
    November 2, 2015 7:49 am

    My Name is Neelkant Rajaghatta we have Agricultural land in dodbalapur looking for assistance in organic farming.

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