Aranya Agricultural Alternatives advocates for ecological and sustainable agricultural livelihoods through permaculture farming.
Practices for a greener world
Narsanna, 57, was first introduced to the concept of permaculture by Dr. Venkat with whom she was working at DDS (Deccan Development Society) at the time. The latter organized the visit of Bill Mollison (co-creator of the Permaculture concept) and Robyn Francis (one of his closest collaborators) to India in 1987. On the occasion, Narsanna participated in the first Permaculture Design Course in India and he was greatly inspired by the two, whom he now calls his mentors.
Permaculture is particularly relevant to India given declining water resources, soil health, biodiversity and wildlife habitats, as well as associated social issues, including increasing farmers’ debt and loss of traditional agricultural practices.
The organization has been working to promote alternative and permanent farming practices with a focus on sustainable management of natural resources, along with strengthening rural and farming communities to achieve food security.
“Permaculture is based on the three ethics of caring for the earth: provision for all life systems, care for people, provision for people to access all the resources necessary for their existence, and fair participation for provide the first two principles”, says one of the Aranya members.
Following the line of the ethics of permaculture, Aranya has endeavored to promote the conservation of biodiversity, the management of natural resources with an emphasis on the mitigation of climate change.
Aranya’s main objectives have been to empower women, in particular, to facilitate processes by which they gain access to and control over natural resources, and promote sustainable livelihoods through the use of indigenous and native technologies.
Aranya believes in sustainable agriculture and subsistence farming systems to improve food security. He also ensures the sustainability of livelihoods through the management of natural resources.
In line with Aranya’s objectives, since 2001 Natural Resources Management programs have been launched and implemented which, to date, continue through various projects. These projects have been developed and implemented under the categories of soil and water conservation, biodiversity conservation, water resources conservation, and management and development of green resources.
Watershed programs were implemented by implementing water collection structures such as percolation tanks, sunken wells, dry wells, contour trenches, ponds, and afforestation of vacant land.
To keep soil erosion under control, various methods of vegetation development are followed, such as the creation of nurseries for vacant land and farms, plantations, establishment of vermi-composting units, horticulture, and agroforestry.
For the management and development of green resources, Aranya has been practicing integrated farming systems and tree-based agriculture through his various projects over the years. The organization runs a training center that trains farmers in capacity building (awareness raising, trainings, demonstrations, exhibition visits and manual support in all of the above), conducting the Permaculture Design Course which now also attracts participants international and development of model farms
“They also wanted to make a difference by encouraging better implementation of government projects, especially in watershed management, and their role quickly became essential in creating a bridge between community institutions and government departments,” says Padma.
To date, the work of Aranya Agricultural Alternatives has had a direct and indirect impact on 2.5 lakh farmers in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh states. Last year, Aranya Agricultural Alternatives organized the first National Permaculture Convergence with the strong intention of being as inclusive as possible, inviting all alternative schools of thought to join the event and share their experience, all under the banner of organic farming. . .
13th International Permaculture Convergence
Aranya Agricultural Alternatives will be hosting the 13th International Permaculture Convergence in Hyderabad from November 25 to December 2, 2017.
“This event will guide and inspire more than 1,200 participants from 100 countries and will also give significant impetus to the permaculture movement in India and around the world,” says Padma.
In preparation for this important event and to let the urban population know more about permaculture, Aranya Agricultural Alternatives will celebrate International Permaculture Day this weekend by hosting an event in Hyderabad at three different locations in Hyderabad (Lamakaan, Kalaachakra and Our Sacred Space ) . The event will be two days of interactive discussions on aspects of permaculture, where nature lovers can exchange or buy seeds and books, watch movies and find out more about what Aranya is doing for the International Permaculture Convergence (IPC India 2017 ).
“The permaculture movement in India is growing every day. More and more people have become more aware of ecology and the environment and find, in permaculture, the solution they are looking for. Once one understands the concept of permaculture and its diversity of applications, there is great enthusiasm to take action for a better India,” says Padma.
Aranya is organizing a crowdfunding campaign for the International Permaculture Convergence. The team hopes to invite as many Indian farmers as possible to the Convergence.
First posted by Your Story