Blog

Pioneer Farms: Himalayan Farm

26/11/2012

Blog Post by ELLIOT MERCIER

The Himalayan Farm Project is a 5.5 acres farm located up a little village called Dogaon, 20 km away from Haldwani in Uttarakhand, India.

The farm is far away from the road, completely isolated, peace prevails there. At the moment we are growing finger millet, beans, pidge, Ginger, pumpkins, spinach, turmeric, radish, potatoes, wheat, garlic, cauliflower, and we have 30 different fruit trees all over the property.

Our objective is to become self sufficient, Self-sustainability is really the moving force behind the project. My intention in this movement is to reconnect to nature, to the source of my food, to understand the cycles of life that are present in agriculture, and in this way to understand myself better. The project is only 13 months old, and is simply the collection of individual thinking processes of its participants. It is not only a farm it is also a Learning centre. Our mission is to re-introduce the models of farming and holistic Healing as a real sustainable livelihood. We are engaged in an all-organic movement. We are working hard on developing effective compost, which is key to organic farming, and in understanding the land that we are working on (sun exposition, slopes, water movement…). To avoid using chemicals, we just spend time analysing how plants associate, which one is best grown with which one. We use natal as natural herbicide. We are developing a proper plan of cultures, as to rotate the crops accordingly. For instance, if you grow potatoes again on the same land, they will develop diseases. We respect our environment, and everything that is part of it, including ourselves. The farm is a Healing centre i.e. the process of healing the farm is the process of Healing ourselves.

We open doors to everyone to come and volunteers. If we have a core team of 5 people, we are often 15 working on site. No one is the leader, everyone is coordinator. We are trying to integrate to our development a horizontal management, because when it is about understanding the land, there is no right or wrong, there is just observation. Everyone can actually come up with an innovative solution to a problem. So we always keep in mind that we do not know anything. Because the process in which we are involved is an endless learning, we find ourselves opening up to new perspectives. Our objective in the coming year is to create a cooperative of farmers around our farm as to integrate them to our all-organic practices. By showing them how to work less and grow more (concept of permaculture) and by cutting intermediaries when selling, we hope to double their income.

The farmhopping concept is really interesting for us, and we see it as an opportunity to sustain our activities. For now, we are struggling with funding and would immensely benefit from being supported by people abroad. If farmhopping can assure the international connection, we can assure the local one. Your help can help other people here. We aim at expanding the network of people interested in farming, and all the lifestyle that come with it. It thus seems like a beautiful opportunity to collaborate with farmhopping and its hoppers. We hope to develop healthy relationships with the farmhoppers, to welcome them on our platform. We have space in simple accommodation for 15 people. This includes the 5 team members and 10 additional volunteers. Farmhoppers will be welcome to join our work and participate in all our workshops such as yoga, meditation, shiatsu, music, and kung fu. So far all our volunteers and guests have been delighted with their stay with us. There is not just one way, but I think we found one to contentment. And we would be happy to share it with everyone. Please come and join the cause. Healthy food for all. Contentment for all.