Vishal and Aditi are from Kolkata and are involved in Organic Coffee Plantation in Chikmangalooru.
Vishal shifted to Chikmangalooru six years ago and it took him a lot of time to find a piece of land. Today, he has access to 25 acres of land, of which 5 acres are for wildlife and 20 acres are for coffee plantation.
We know that industrialisation has meant losing our forests and it is high time we attempt to save them. Vishal started talking about this to his friends and started seeking their opinions. One day, somebody asked him, “What are you going to do about it?” “That’s when I thought that instead of waiting for others to take a step, why should I not take that first step? That was the thought behind starting this plantation farm.”
The weather conditions in Chikmangalooru can be extreme. It is a place where growing coffee well may be the only thing possible – they tried planting many fruits and vegetables also, but the weather conditions proved to be unsuitable.
For Aditi, this venture was not a sacrifice, it was an opportunity. Born and brought up in Kolkata, she had worked in an IT company. “Vishal was the one who exposed me to and the one who made me realise that this thought of saving nature is inside everyone, not just inside one or two people.” They lead their life amidst nature and even produce their own electricity. They are self-sustaining and are cut out from the whole world. They have to travel a long distance to purchase anything.
Vishal, like Aditi, was educated in Kolkata. He studied Commerce first and later finished his MBA. He led the corporate life for three years and later got fed up with that. He wanted to do something green – for the environment. “It started with one small plant that I planted in my house. It was a tomato plant, and I watched it grow from a seed to a plant which bore flowers and how those flowers turned to fruit. This made me believe in myself.”
For Aditi, it was difficult to adopt this type of living at first. Later, she realised that “when you are living in nature, nature always shows you the way.” She says that in two years she has learnt a lot. She started thinking more deeply and more importantly, observing things she hadn’t before. “While living in a city we don’t observe things. Now, when I go to Kolkata, I have started observing many more trees and plants that I had not observed before!”
Vishal reveals that once he got into farming, he found the freedom to explore as well. The first year-and-a-half, he suffered, because he was alone. His journey started when with working on other farms, and he also completed a course in power culture. The purpose of organic farming is to get more output with the least number of inputs. After accumulating a lot of experiences of working on other farms, he came to Chikmangalooru. In the 5 acres of land for wildlife, he hasn’t built any fences. “I didn’t want to go against Mother Nature; rather, I wanted to go with nature.”
Vishal and Aditi have planted a lot of trees in the past six years but have been able to grow only 25% of them successfully because the deer always feed on them and never allow them to grow. But that’s part of being in nature.
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