Thursday, February 09, 2006

A Rare Find: An Organic Farm in India!

Well after Kolkata Dan Palmer ended up in Northern Goa below Mumbai on the West Coast for a few days whilst waiting for his plane home. One day while cruising around on a rented scooter, he saw an organic sign out the front of a farm. Turning around he went and said hello before being treated to a wonderful tour of this truly amazing farm. They were doing permaculture in the sense that permaculture is just sensible applied ecology and I recommend this to any permaculture people who happen to get down this way. The name is Parsekar Organic Farm, and their phone number is (0832) 2247281. Contact Dan (darnample - at - for their email. The guy who showed me around was called Mr. Anant M Parsekar. Anyways, here is a little description followed by some photos I took during my time there. It was just so damned refreshing after seeing how reckless agriculture has become in all the parts of India I saw (including this part).

They had developed the farm by trial and error over about 18 years and knew nothing about permaculture by that name, but were doing almost everything: mulch everywhere, all organic matter returned, drip-feed irrigation, food forest (based around mangoes, coconuts, bananas), promoting beneficial insects, compost toileting, and generally just massive polyculture planting something everywhere possible – he called it “harvesting sunlight.” I saw nutmeg, baby mangos, pineapples, tumeric, vanilla, cloves, jackfruit, berries climbing all the coconuts, lemons, and so much more. He showed me the ants and spiders that look after the mango trees – an ant on his skin didn’t bite him – he said they knew he was their friend and then carefully put it back on the tree. Later a few ants got on my neck and bit me. Then they took me inside for a delicious drink and an amazing meal – fish curry, pea and banana flower dish, drumstick curry, and a creamy milky curry...

It was beautiful - a fair dinkum food forest.

Here are the ants the fellow proudly explained protected his mangos, not allowing any other insect to come near. White Ants he called them.

Here's how he took cuttings, actually getting them to produce roots before removing them from the tree - very clever.

Jackfruit which apparently get about three or four times this big when mature.

The drip irrigation system.

They planted ground covers of tumeric everywhere finding it was a great natural insect deterrent. As a by product they make a lot of tumeric powder (root is boiled, chopped, then ground). Note the knife - which the cut item moves relative to - these are everywhere in India.

Drum sticks. Apparently monkeys often come and sway the branches till the drumsticks fall. "It brings them pleasure," I was told.

And this is a perrenial tree leaf and flower which are used like salad greens.

1 comment:

DJ said...

Hi there!

Great blog!

I am from hyderabad, trying to do something like this. Have started a small garden and also looking at urban gardening. We will start a blog soon, the little group of us here. We are collecting plants, especially local wild (non mainstream agriculture) varieties of food plants for our gardens, especially greens.
I would feel grateful if you can tell us how to get kang kong and also the name of that perennial plant.

Keep the good work going.