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It Took 25 Years For This Farmer To Grow 100 Plant Species In One Acre of Land! You’ll Love His Story

One-acre food forest of abundance that contains 20 different species of fruit trees, 8 different spice plants, more than 20 different species of vegetables and more than 50 different medicinal plants. Read To Know The Story!

Ayushi Raina
This Organic Farmer in Kerala Is Growing 100 Plant Species on Just 1 Acre of Land!
This Organic Farmer in Kerala Is Growing 100 Plant Species on Just 1 Acre of Land!

One-acre food forest with 20 different species of fruit trees, 8 different spice plants, more than 20 different vegetable species, and more than 50 different medicinal plants. There was greenery and fresh plant growth everywhere you looked, from the ground right up to the top of the tallest trees.

Ajith Kumar began exploring and practicing organic farming 25 years ago, learning many lessons the hard way. He produced more than enough food for himself and his wife, but still felt his small farm could be improved.  Then, two years ago, he heard about Subash Palekar's zero-budget farming and signed up for one of his training courses. 

"I was so ecstatic after finishing Subhash Palekar's training course that I went back home and immediately started seeking for a local indigenous desi cow. Through a friend, I was able to buy a Kasurgod cow, a traditional species of native indigenous Kerala species. For Zero budget farming we have to use a local indigenous desi cow.  They produce far less milk in terms of quantity, but it has far greater medicinal value. Indigenous desi cow dung and urine include a high concentration of microorganisms that promote healthy soil and, as a result, healthy plants. It aids in the movement of worms from the lower layers of soil to the top, which also helps to improve the soil. From a single cow it is possible to produce all that a farmer needs to farm up to 30 acres! With zero external inputs, this completely changes the costs for a farmer.” 

"Since we began mulching and spraying Jiwamrita, the depth, color and smell of our soil has substantially improved. Keeping the soil covered at all times helps to prevent the harmful effects of sunlight on the microorganisms that live in the soil and also aids in water retention. 

We've also dug a number of trenches around the farm so that surrounding plants' roots may get water and nutrients from the Jiwamrita." 

We were surprised by the profusion of greenery and variety of plant species as we walked around the farm. Every tree on the farm had a climbing plant going up the main stem, a smaller fruit tree beneath it, a shrub beneath it and a ground cover layer beneath that. This multi-layer planting maximizes the utilization of sunlight and enables the farmer to get maximum output from a small space. 

Why it is critical for Indian farmers to switch over to organic farming? 

He said, "It is critical for the country's health because we are taught from an early age that the environment is our mother and that we must take care of her. The use of insecticides, fertilizers, and herbicides is extremely hazardous to the soil, plants, and animals. This farming approach is destroying Mother Earth.

In almost every country in the world we can find an expression like “You are what you eat”.   Do we really want to ingest so many artificial and perhaps hazardous chemicals? Conventional agriculture is also having an adverse effect on farmers' health; these chemicals cause much higher rates of cancer and a variety of other ailments." 

We picked and ate fresh mangosteen, green pepper, cucumber, and nutmeg fruits directly off the tree in the 20 minutes we spent walking around the farm. As we returned to the house, Ajith Kumar had one more surprise waiting for us. A giant jackfruit, a familiar sight in Kerala, sat on the floor by the backdoor, with one little difference: it was koozha jackfruit. 

Ajith Kumar was keen to explain the distinction: 

"Throughout Kerala, you will find numerous koozha jackfruits rotting on the floor." It's such a sad sight because this was the variety planted by our ancestors and has always been cherished by Keralites throughout history. Only in more reason times did people become picky and only want to eat varikka jackfruits. Varikka jackfruit is the one we can commonly find for sale in markets, containing a slightly hard inner flesh. 

After one bite of koozha jackfruit, we all wondered how somebody could allow such a delicious fruit on the ground to rot.  It's a little more difficult to eat and a little messy, but its soft flesh oozes flavor! 

It was an honor to visit Ajith Kumar's farm, which served as a reminder that with careful planning, little knowledge, and the appropriate climate a true abundance of food can be produced organically and sustainably. 

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