We at Vanya Organic are trying to restore nature and soil to its original state at our farms at Khalghat which is situated the banks of Narmada river in Madhaya Pradesh . For over a decade we adopted adopt some very simple practices which restored nature and turned an arid stretch of land into one of the most fertile land of the country.
Vanya is visibly a labour of love and intense, single-minded effort over the past 12 years. We are inspired by the Japanese no-till farming visionary Masanobu Fukuoka and the Gujarati natural farming pioneer Bhaskar.
Of the total 40 acres, planting of the bio-diverse food forest continues apace on 20, while the rest is already well forested.
Tens of thousands of trees, heights varying from over 50 majestic feet to 15 feet, and lower in a new definition of ‘multi story’ – a huge biodiversity of hundreds of varieties : 400 mango trees, 5,000 drumstick, 5,000 citrus (rangpur lime, mausambi, kaffir line, grapefruit, kagzi lemon), 7,000 papaya, 5,000 Subabool, 500 Neem, and thousands more of perennial Arhar, Amla, Amrood, Kathal, Ber, Pink Pepper, Jamun, Banana, Babool, Glyricidea, Teak, Phalsa, Sharifa, Bel, Wisdom Tree, Swarn Champa, Khajoor and Coconut; and finally the understory of thousands of plants of Ginger, Turmeric, Aloe Vera and millions of slips of Khas grass (Vetiver).
The perennials trees and plants are grown in multiple ‘layers’, and are carefully selected locally adapted or ‘desi’ (local) species some with leaves (Moringa or Drumstick, for example) small enough to allow sunlight to filter through to the lower layers. This bio-diverse tree growth forms the biomass that enriches the soil and feeds the thousands of kinds of microorganisms and animal life (a world of bacteria, fungi, Protozoa, nematodes and larger animals and birds as well) that thrive on decaying plant matter. The sunlight that does reach through the trees in the sky and the mulch on the soil has lost the harshness that could destroy the living organisms feeding on the mulch from trees.
And, obviously and necessarily, the most important exclusion is that of man-made chemicals of any kind from the farm ecosystem. Vanya does not use cattle manure, as their vast quantities of varied biomass from the trees are sufficient food for the soil. Neither do we use any organic or natural pest repellent sprays recently made popular as we believe that healthy soil creates healthy plant life – and if there are insects that eat some fruits or leaves, let them too live.