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Two Brothers from Kashmir Valley, Budga district, Mahwara Village creating a Permaculture garden, teaching communities, creating a Seed bank and owning a Non-Commercial Free Range Poultry Farm

Dr. Lakshmi Unnithan
Dr. Lakshmi Unnithan
Salim Hassan

Agriculture World Editor Dr Lakshmi Unnithan, In conversation with Salim Hassan, born and raised in Srinagar who did his MBA from Wales in 2011 but found his interest in nature so started to look for it and found permaculture. Salim says he was into nature and animals from his childhood and during his stay and study in UK he started browsing on internet about alternate living away from capitalism and found permaculture.

Muhammed Muneeb

He says he got deeply interested when he read about it and understood that this is what he always wanted to do. He says it has been a nice platform to get connected with other people in UK who already were practicing permaculture, and found this place called Karuna insight design in Shropshire. They had a course coming up and he went to attend and stayed there for a week and got really inspired by them and there was no looking back after that. Later he finished his MBA and worked there for two years in England and decided to come back home in 2014 and live the dream. He came back to Kashmir and decided to grow his own food and is trying to live in harmony with nature.

Bunch of Harvest

Their small permaculture garden is in Kashmir, Budgam district, Mahwara village and they also have a Non-Commercial free range poultry farm and their garden space is of 6000ft. For free range poultry they have one acre of fenced land. His younger brother Muhammed is helping him now. Since then it’s been a lot of adventure, bit of struggle but amazing satisfaction, says Saalim.

Crates of Eggs

He says his parents are very supportive although this doesn't fetch him much income, but this is what they want to do now. Salim says that a lot of other friends are also interested now. They are working on creating a seedbank also.  They say they are getting to teach communities about permaculture practices, and if everything goes well they will be starting to teach some courses from next month.

He only grows heirloom vegetables like Kale, Collards, Brussel sprouts, Brocolli, Beet root, Beans, Sweetcorn, different kinds of Pumpkin's, Squashes, Chilli, Aubergine, Red Okra. Kashmir has a short season in Kashmir so he starts early greenhouse In February and they sow another batch of cool season crops like Brasiccas late summer for autumn harvest. They also have some fruit trees which are in the third year. They are Nectaries, Apricot, Apples, Cherry and Persimmon.

Gunny Bagmulching

Salim says he makehis own compost from chicken, sheep manure and garden waste. Organic fertilizer are made using comfrey and nettle (comfrey tea). Some techniques that have been used in the garden are all beds on contour, mini swales as he calls them. He uses mostly no dig method with lot of mulch on beds and around fruit trees. The land he is working was a brick kilns some 20 years back, actually no soil here, it's only brick dust, he says. In the initial days he made a small flock of sheep and his poultry including chickens and ducks sit on the plot for few years and then started cultivation in it. He has a small pond where he collects rainwater for the garden. There are some ducks in it and he uses the duck water to fertilize the garden.

Free Range Poultry

Slowly he says the place is turning into a mini jungle and he says he is planning to extend his farm and acquire more land under cultivation.  He reminds us that it’s the same brick dust around the plot which he is going to design from August. He reiterates that he has started teaching as of yet but yes he has a  plan to organise a course in August. They designed one more garden last year in Srinagar but the project has to stop in August because of revocation of special Articles. Salim says before signing off that   Nature is where we come from and where we belong so better live our time with nature and in harmony with it.


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