A lesson in History

During the early 20th century, the British government sent renowned botanist, Sir Albert Howard to colonial India, to teach illiterate farmers how to increase productivity by promoting western agricultural techniques. When Sir Albert travelled across India though, he was astonished to see that Indian farmers could teach him much more.. for they were growing healthy, productive crops with the use of only decomposed animal dung thrown on a garbage heap! ‘If this is so, then where is the need for chemicals, and what shall I teach them?’ Albert asked himself. He also noted  a correlation between healthy soil and healthy people, livestock and crops in those villages. After establishing the Institute of Plant Industry in Indore in 1923, Sir Albert worked on collecting cow dung, urine, and crop residues and after eleven years, successfully developed the 'Indore Method of Composting' - an achievement acknowledged all over the world..

Sir Albert Howard breathed his last on 20th October 1947. World War II had ended two years ago and large quantities of explosives like Ammonium nitrate and insecticides like DDT (used to limit malaria in troops) were left over. Research into their alternate uses showed they could boost plant growth and kill ‘pests’ too. Large industries producing explosives and insecticides were now re-purposed to manufacture 'fertilizers' and 'pesticides'.  Now that supply was assured, demand had to be created and the seeds of a 'Green Revolution' were sown in a newly independent nation..

Its been over sixty years since the much celebrated 'Green' Revolution began in India... so how did we really fare?

India imported fertilizers worth over 1.38 Trillion Indian rupees in the fiscal year 2022-2023 alone.

The toxic and carcinogenic effects of these chemicals are now well established (read about the 'Cancer train' of Punjab). In May 2023, the US Environmental Protection Agency detected that extremely dangerous levels of 'Forever Chemicals' had leached from storage containers into agricultural pesticides from where they would enter our soil, water and food chain, finally accumulating in the living tissue of humans causing cancer, thyroid disease, kidney dysfunction, birth defects, autoimmune disease and other serious health problems.

Research conducted by the University of Texas using data from 1950 to 1999 found substantial declines in vitamins and mineral levels of 43 vegetables and fruits. One 2004 study in the Journal of American Nutrition found that it would take eight oranges today to match the same amount of phytonutrients available in one orange grown a 100 years ago!

This alarming decline in the nutritional value of our food has significantly increased our medical expenses by compromising our immunity and ironically spawned yet another controversial, costly and chemical-based 'solution' - the Multivitamin and Food Supplement industry!

The Why

Over the past few decades, our farmers have systematically been converted from Anna-daatas (anna-food; daata-giver) or ‘Producers’ who were the guarantors of our food security, health and nutrition to ‘Customers’ of industrial giants dominating our entire food supply chain. Farm input, processing, output, storage, marketing, distribution, packaging, advertising and sales are almost entirely controlled by large corporations today. This role reversal and the underlying ‘maximize shareholder profitability’ philosophy, have resulted in most of the commercial, social and ecological crises that our world faces today. Climate change – another evil rooted in destructive practices heralded by the advent of industrialization and conventional agriculture has further minimized our farmers’ self-reliance and poses an increasing threat to the viability of farming, global food security and of life on earth itself.

The What

Sattvik Farms is an Agri-based startup which understands our dire need to pull away from the self-destruct button and is committed towards finding the right solutions to the problems of today and tomorrow. Our aim is to transform ‘conventional’ agriculture by making our farmers self reliant and by putting Nature First. Only by re-learning from nature.. applying natural, eco-friendly and sustainable farming practices can we hope to guarantee global food security, ensure the commercial viability of agriculture & let mother nature slowly but surely heal herself.

The Where

Central India – more specifically Vidarbha.

The Vidarbha region of eastern Maharashtra is located at the heart of the Indian subcontinent and offers a diverse landscape of hills, rivers, lakes, forests & wildlife, mines & minerals and natural resources which interface with an equally diverse climate, culture and people!

Yet, in-spite of all of nature’s riches and abundant diversity, Vidarbha has gained the unfortunate distinction of having the highest farmer suicide rates in India. Each year, increasing debt, market fluctuations and crop failures result in many small and marginal farmers taking their own lives. That those who nourish us all are left to perish themselves is a shameful, sobering reality check – a constant reminder of what is really at stake and why we must change our ways.

The How

Our vision is to re-establish farmers’ Swaraj (swa-self; raj-rule) by developing a natural,  commercially successful, model farm and collaborative farming eco-system based on the following principles:

1. Replace harmful practices prevalent in conventional farming with natural, innovative & climate resilient alternatives.

2. Promote and share innovative, natural farming practices to help other farmers adopt sustainable processes while supporting them mitigate risks associated with the transition.

3. Spread awareness and push for zero use of poisonous chemicals in farming which destroy our land, soil, water, air, health and immunity.

4. Improve farm profitability by replacing external inputs with natural, sustainable substitutes to minimize costs associated with production.

5. Connect farmers who adopt natural farming with the right customers to ensure commercial viability.

6. Perform on-farm value addition to capture a larger share of the farm to fork food supply chain.

7. Provide a platform for customers to procure high quality, fresh, nutritious and chemical-free farm produce at transparent and fair prices.

While we have just started and much work needs to be done, we are certain that with the right intent, effort and your goodwill, we are bound to become a catalyst for good, of 'Sattvik' living in the days to come...

Thank you for reading... please visit the Connect page to contact us or share your feedback and suggestions.

Stay Sattvik!