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10 Acre Permaculture & Craft learning Centre in Shornur, Kerala along Nila River teaches the Concept of Self-sufficiency & Self Reliance in all aspects of Life

Dr. Lakshmi Unnithan
Dr. Lakshmi Unnithan
amrose
Ambrose with Farmers Share Products

Agriculture World Editor, Dr Lakshmi Unnithan was in conversation with Ambrose Kooliyath, one of the owners of Farmers Share and Meera Abraham, Head of the Weaving and Dyeing Unit. The Farmers Share Organization is located in Shornur in Kerala. 

While in Conversation Ambrose shares that he comes from a place called Vypin in Kerala. He has been working since 30 years.  The essence of it all is the Gandhian concept of self-sufficiency and self-reliance. The idea of Ambrose is a society where the basic needs of a person — food, clothing and shelter, are met with products sourced from within one’s locality. The farm is an attempt at all his experiments. Achieving self sufficiency for a man is very important. He was looking after applying the principles learnt through the Swashraya movement and in turn the possibilities of food in today’s world. While he says Self sufficiency, it doesn’t necessarily mean you don’t depend on anybody. We need not take the plain meaning of The Gandhian Concept of  self sufficiency and self reliance but he feels more than a person it should get connected to each state and the nation as a whole. 

farmers share
Farmers Share

Ambrose was a part of  a Gandhian movement named Swashraya Vypin at the age of 22 and were looking of applying the principles learnt through the Swashrya movement and in turn the possibilities of food in today’s world. The food which is chemically laced and lost. So he turned to organic farming as part of the movement. He improvised on it later and started a minimal investment organic eatery named Grasshopper in Kochi with a few friends. He met all kinds of people through food and taste. Food is the basic building block of humans and so it has to be treated with total love and care and responsibility to grow clean food. Permaculture farming is just one part of such a lifestyle. As he wanted to expand the concept of self-sufficiency to all aspects of life, which is why he left it all to launch Farmer’s Share three years ago. He included handweaving and pottery because both are dying fields. 

pottery
Terracota Magic at Farmers Share

Achieving Self Sufficiency for a man is very important. A person could  be self sufficient as much as he wants but if he depends on anybody, it doesn’t mean I am not self sufficient. While he says Self sufficiency, it doesn’t necessarily mean you don’t depend on anybody. Any factor that  inspires, enlightens, brightens the self  could be self sufficiency. We need not take the plain meaning of  The Gandhian concept of  self sufficiency and self reliance for a person ,but he feels more than a person it should get connected to each state and the nation. Food waste needs to be controlled and one has to be self sufficient in not wasting food. It could be done by converting food into something which can be stored for later use . The Whole concept of farmers share is based on this concept. 

The Centre has a pottery unit and terracotta pots with different kinds of hanging and flowering plants. What makes their pottery different from others is the traditional technique they borrowed from the potter community in Nilambur, Kerala. Once the pot is out of the wheel, it is beaten with a wooden pestle. It is given two coats of natural colour from red earth mixed in a water bath and allowed to soak the colour and dry. The pot is then given a rub with a smooth river stone for that smooth glowing finish. 

hibiscus
Hibiscus Concentrate

Hibiscus bushes surrounding the area, gets converted to jams, jellies, juices and teas. Further down the farm is the woods and finally the Nila River. Farmers Share also has Natural handmade Dishwash made of Soapnut, Shikkakai ,Lemon and Wood Ash. This pure dish wash powder is safe for hyper sensitive skin and for the environment as it is 100% chemical free and non toxic. This can be used on all kind of vessels from permeable clay pots to delicate baby bottles. Every ingredient is ethically sourced, cleaned, separately dried, ground, sieved and mixed in our campus.  In Farmer’s share they work towards zero waste, so the cover used is reused from tea packaging, wood ash from our pottery unit choolah.  

moringa

To let 2021 be an environmental and health conscious one, a calendar was conceptualised and named ‘’Kalandar’ by Lakshmi Menon, the Designer. It is a piece of handmade art made absolutely in Farmer’s share from start to end. The Khadi cloth is handwoven by local women and is later dyed here using naturally available botanicals. It was then hand cut, tied and put together by the young hearts here. Every month in this calendar describes about the plant used to dye the sheet and the health benefits of using such natural dyed fabric.  

calendar
Calendar 2021

Ambrose’s wife Mini Elizabeth, their two sons Amal and Akhil, are the craftsmen in the centre. Amal designs the orders at the handweaving unit with his friend Rashid, while 18-year-old Akhil designs the terracotta cookware and planters. Ambrose dreams of Farmers Share to be a place where this place continues to remain a space where it still inspires and aspires the young ones. A space where the medley of colours and the warmth of the earth rings a music in ones mind. A Space where we could share the knowledge irrespective of borders and where there is unending happiness. 

While at the fag end of the conversation he says that he wouldn’t look at this place as a space where he sells double or triple of my products, but a forest denser than this and  ten times more voice of the chirping of  birds which are here at present. 

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