Visit to a farm in a rain shadow area

We visit a friend's farm in a rain shadow area and learn about sustainability

 · 2 min read

Just returning from a friend's farm, located in an area where the average annual rainfall is 600mm. For better context, 500mm is the cut off for 'areas of very little rainfall' in India.

Do the pictures look like it? What has it taken to do something like this?

15 years of living close to the soil. So close that you are intimate. So close that you can look at a 4cm high newly growing plant anywhere on the farm and be abel to tell whether it is something you planted or not.

The strength to consistently say no to devices of convenience and live simply, in a house without plumbing.

Such level of resource consciousness that you live off the grid and use only rain water you have harvested.

Constant observation and learning. Learning of the kind that makes you see your own mistakes and learn how to rectify them. Like learning that the trees you intially planted to green the place have started to become invasive and learning how to control them.

Experimentation and patience. Still digging trenches, making bigger pits, growing plants without any need for watering. Looking out for new plants, and new methods.

The humility to wear your "achievements" lightly enough to pick up cow dung wherever you see it when on a walk.

Deep knowledge of plants and soil. You not only know the English, botanical, local names of the plants but you know their properties, how they impact each other, and the soil.

Thankfulness and generosity. Still recalling where you got which seeds and cuttings from, and be thankful about it. Willingness to share your knowledge and your resources unstintingly.

It does take a lot but doesn't sound like it is too much to do. To say this experience was inspiring, doesn't even start to cover it.

Feeling overwhelmingly thankful and happy.

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