Aranya Permaculture Farm
Staying at Aranya farm was a beautiful part of this year’s internship. The joys of watching mango trees in their magnificent beauty as they blossomed, surrounded by their incredible sweet scent. Watching jackfruit grow from the size of a pea to much bigger than the size of a football. And wow, cashew fruit, completely exquisite and lusciously sweet. The farm’s biodiversity attracts, and is home to stunningly beautiful tropical birds, not seen anywhere close by.
Some things we experienced were traditional, homegrown food that was shared with sweet hospitality. Helping give the water buffalo her bath, and eating yogurt daily from her milk. Hundreds of local and permaculture plants to learn from. Living outside, intimately connected to nature. The rooftop patio view of the design of the farm which was developed entirely without the use of irrigation. It is just a short walk to a nearby cave temple and in the evening, the peacefulness of falling asleep to traditional Indian music playing in the distance throughout the night.
Many women from surrounding villages that Aranya had worked with over the past 30 years gathered together. Generally Padma and Narsanna spend most of their time in the big city of Hyderabad now. So when villagers heard they were at the farm they came
from all over to visit with them. So many women’s lives have been improved by Aranya organizing women’s groups and doing education and empowerment. When it was International Women’s Day, Padma organized a mini festival. A seed winnowing competition, a plant identification competition, and an empowerment exercise with dance and mantra, were among some of the activities. It was so powerful to witness and be a part of these various times women met at the Aranya Farm.
We all loved attending the Biodiversity Festival that celebrated with traditional song and dance and a parade of bullock carts displaying traditional seeds which walked from village to village. Building a cob oven and watching the beginning of the biodigester being built were lots of fun and interesting to be a part of.
We took a trip to visit and learn from the International Permaculture Convergence site which is a 100 acre farm in development. They are busy growing the majority of the food for the attendees. I am very excited to see the whole process of creating oil from seed. They grew a lot of safflower and it was drying while we were there. Soon they will grind it into oil with a simple traditional stone grinder with bullocks harnessed to it
Aranya Farm is a dryland food forest and farm developed without any irrigation. It is a model permaculture farm for others to follow. I am very grateful that Living Ecology had the opportunity to live there this year.
Written by: Seva Nibley