Developing A Rural Economic Model To Make Villages Rich And Prosperous

HariPrasad-1

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I have almost 12 acre of land for agricultural. In Narmada valley of MP. Very fertile soil .

Can you suggest how much income I can make out of it with minimal effort?
If you are ready to spend about 3 to 5 lakh per acre, You will have an income of Rs 5 to 10 lakh per acre every year starting from third year. Make Permaculture/ Miawanki food forest with some 4 to 5 thousand fruit trees. I am planning one in my land of 2 acre.
 

HariPrasad-1

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I am planning to make a Miyawaki fruit (Food) forest in my newly acquired land. My limited knowledge in the are stops me to go for it immediately. I have contacted one guy who knows this and makes Miyawaki fruit forest for quite some time. I will plant some 2000 to 3000 organic best quality fruit plants there. After one to two years, i.e by 2022 or 2021 end, I will start getting export quality fruits in huge quantity. Let us see how it goes on.

Here is a small case study of miyawanki fruit forest.

A Fruit Forest
OCTOBER 16, 2018 ~ VENETIA ANSELL




planting the first sapling

We eat a lot of fruit, a papaya each for breakfast, bananas by the dozen, whole watermelons and kilos of oranges to cool us down midday. And with almost seven acres of fertile land we thought trips to Sakleshpur to buy chemically-grown produce would soon be a thing of the past. It has though proved much harder than we expected to grow fruit.

The 300 odd fruit trees we planted three monsoons ago have grown a good inch and a half, or been eaten up by either cows or the jungle, or both. All but five of the 67 papayas I had nurtured from seed to sapling over the last year died this monsoon. The nearest we have got to a fruit yield has been a solitary nursery-bought papaya which gives miniature, albeit wonderfully sweet, fruits and two or three rounds of bananas (we have about five trees left out of the initial 100 we planted).

So when I heard about the Miyawaki method I was intrigued. The concept in brief is to create a tiny patch of forest with a large variety of very densely planted indigenous trees. The forest grows in a matter of years rather than decades and soon becomes maintenance-free, just like trees do in the wild. For us, it means we get plenty of fruit and fast, and maintenance is easy (especially keeping the jungle at bay, which is near impossible when you plant trees out over a large area in as wild and wet a place as ours).

Afforestt, set up and run by Shubhendu Sharma, has been creating these mini forests for customers in Bangalore and further afield for several years now. They charge big corporates, such as Bangalore International Airport, a hefty sum but they have also generously released very detailed notes on Dropbox for people like us who want to DIY it. Below is a fairly long description of how we created our medicinal fruit forest using Afforestt’s methodology. Those who are interested in trying out this technique are welcome to get in touch for more information.

1. Tree Selection

Our aim was to create a forest of indigenous fruit and medicinal trees (many of the trees we selected tick both boxes). One, very long-term and rather ambitious, aim of mine is to have the right kind of home-grown plants available to meet all our basic health needs. We selected only trees native to India and where possible ones which are indigenous to the Western Ghats. Afforestt recommends planting each 100m2 with 300 trees. We decided to start with just one 100m2 patch and thus needed 300 saplings.

As per Afforestt’s instructions, we (or rather Excel-whiz Gautam) played around with Excel equations to ensure we had the right amounts of each of our chosen ‘major’, ‘supporting’ and ‘minor’ species, and then adjusted again based on the tree size (shrub, small tree, tree and canopy). We then made inquiries with various nurseries to check on availability and costing. In the end we bought almost all the plants from the excellent nursery at FRLHT (the FRLHT aims to revive traditional Indian health systems and has a huge campus where they cultivate all kinds of rare medicinal plants; it is based in Yelahanka, Bangalore), which has high quality indigenous plants and can also provide cheap, organic manure and coco-peat. Here is our final tree list (the percentages inevitably got mixed up as some trees weren’t available when we actually placed the order).

Selecting and sourcing the trees was by far the most time-consuming part of the process, but by the end of it I could recite the botanical names of most of the 50-odd species on our list in my sleep and was thus well equipped to start the planting.

2. Site Preparation

Afforestt recommends preparing a 100m2 site with plenty of biomass to increase water retention, soil fertility and root perforation ability. They recommend that the digging (down to a depth of one metre) be done by a JCB, as well as the mixing process. Mixing involves putting half the soil back into the pit once dug, then spreading the biomass on top and mixing it in; then the remaining soil and remaining biomass is to be mixed in a similar way leaving a raised mound.

We chose a scrubby grassland covered in Lantenna, and, crucially, close enough to the kere to make watering easy. We almost created a 8,361m2 site when the combination of converting metres to feet plus squaring and square-rooting proved way too much for my math-challenged brain to handle, but realised our mistake early on, thanks to Bharath’s unschooled common sense.

The simple ball and ribbon test showed that the soil from this site is either clay loam or sandy clay loam. That would mean we need around 6.5kg/m2 of both perforation and water retention material as per the Afforestt calculation. We ended up buying 600kg of each, mainly because I forgot the figure was 6.5 rather than 6. For the perforation material we used rice husk, easily and cheaply available locally. For the water retention material, I bought coco-peat from the FRLHT.

We weren’t able to test the soil for carbon and nitrogen but assume it is reasonably rich in both so opted for the minimum amount of manure: 3kg/m2, so in total 300kg.

We try to avoid JCBs and Hitachis wherever possible as they are so very destructive, ripping up whole tracts of healthy land every time they turn round. To dig the site by hand though would have taken a full week, excluding mixing, and cost almost double. So we contracted a JCB to come and do the job.



It took him about four hours in total but it was quite a mess. For a start, we should have asked him to pile all the soil on one side of the pit to make it easier to push back in. Instead he spread it all round and we were then visited by a large thunderstorm so by mixing time the whole thing was a quagmire. The machine had to go behind the piles of soil on all four sides, multiplying the destruction, and mixing was not very thorough. The JCB had also arrived several hours late so by the end of the mixing it was pitch black as well as pouring. We thus decided to cut short our losses and send the monster home. We employed two men for a day to try and level the site and raise the mound.

3. Planting

When you get a big delivery of many different species of trees from a nursery, there is a high likelihood, unless you are a botanist, that you will have no idea what most of the plants are. It took me many hours to identify and sort out all of the trees we bought, using videos that had been made as the saplings were loaded, and several books.

We then divided the (mainly) identified plants according to their size categorisation: shrub, small tree, tree, canopy. Afforestt recommends planting the forest by ensuring each m2 has a mix of each of these. So when we came to the sapling spreading it was easy to just grab one plant from each group and place them next to each other. Unfortunately I had somehow taken 60cm to mean half a foot so we placed the plants too close to each other, leaving half the site area bare. After realising the miscalculation, I tried to spread them out two feet apart and cover the whole site area, and in the process all of my careful efforts to place small by big etc were probably lost. Randomness though was definitely achieved.



Planting was done over two consecutive days, the first with a group of about 10 volunteers who were with us for the weekend, the second with a very hard-working Barki. We took care to follow the Afforrest method of first dipping the sapling bags in water, allowing the air bubbles to escape, and then planting and loosely packing the soil back in.

A friend was filming the planting with his drone. Here are a few stills from the videos. In the last one you can spot the planting site top centre, where paddy and meadow meet.




We tied all those saplings that needed support and then mulched using four bales of hay from Bharath’s last paddy harvest. The hay when dry was about half a foot deep. We haven’t tied it down with rope as recommended because once damp it doesn’t seem to fly away. Perhaps in the dry season we will need to.


mulch half spread
We have set up a pipe direct from the pump in the kere which we switch on for about 15 minutes in the morning – if it hasn’t rained – to water the whole forest.

4. Monitoring

As per Afforestt’s instructions, we plan to check how many saplings we have lost after about three months. It should be not more than 5% they say and certainly can’t be worse than the papaya wipe out…

We have also selected one tree each from around 20 species for monitoring of height and will keep recording growth every couple of months. And I also labelled those trees whose names I may later forget.


I finally found a use for all uppu’s old yakult bottles
5. Maintenance

Apart from watering and weeding there is no other maintenance required. In fact, we are specifically asked not to interfere should we see pests; the forest will sort it out. After two to three years there is no maintenance at all.

6. Costings

Here is the break-up of what we spent:

– Plants: roughly Rs 23,000

– Coco peat: Rs 250 for 25kg so total of Rs 6000 for 600kg

– Manure: Rs 150 for 20kg so total of Rs 2250 for 300kg

– Transportation of plants, coco peat and manure from FRLHT: Rs 7,000

– Rice husk: Rs 3,400 for husk, Rs 850 for gunny sacks and packing, Rs 600 transportation. Total: Rs 4,850

– Mulch: Bharath gave us the bundles; not sure of the rate had we bought them

– JCB: Rs 7,400

– Labour: mound Rs 600, planting Rs 600, tying and mulching Rs 300. Total Rs 1500

Total: Rs 52,000

Out of interest, planting the same amount of trees following normal methods in a jungle-type land like ours and with plants and manure purchased locally would cost about the same, as below. Maintenance costs though would be significantly more over the years.

– Plants from a local nursery, including transportation: roughly Rs 45,000

– Labour costs for planting and tying the saplings: Rs 4,500 for planting and tying (based on it taking a single man around one day to plant 20 trees after first clearing a patch for them in the jungle), Rs 1000 for tying each tree to a support stick

– Manure: Rs 1000-2000 for 50-100kg manure from Sakleshpur

Total: Rs 52,000

I hope to do a follow up post in perhaps six months or a year to report back on how the forest is progressing.



———————————————

Before, during and after the planting of our medicinal fruit forest, I have had the nagging feeling that I’m barking up the wrong tree. It’s not that the method is flawed but that my approach is all wrong. Rather than continue to try and poke and prod our piece of land into vegetable, fruit and herb productivity, perhaps we ought to focus on graciously receiving what she already so generously gives us. We have gluts of wild mango and jamun every other year. There is a wealth of Brahmi, way more than we can use in cooking and for our homemade shampoo. Wild brinjal gives us a tasty palya which simultaneously fights any intestinal parasites. We feast on greens such as ganikke soppu (Indian nightshade), huli soppu (purslane) and dantin soppu (amaranth) for most of the year. And friends and visitors are always pointing out new things, this flower can be heated in oil and applied as a dosha-balancer, that spiky leaf makes a wonderful sambar green. Should our priority be to document and use as much of the wild produce as we can before trying to harness the soil to our perhaps ill-conceived perceptions of what we need and want?

https://svargaonearth.wordpress.com/2018/10/16/a-fruit-forest/
 

HariPrasad-1

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How to make a mini forest with Miyawaki method

GUIDE TO AFFORESTATION IN BENGALURU
May 19, 2019 News Desk
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Volunteers at a Miyawaki forest plantation drive in Bengaluru last year. File Pic

Miyawaki is a technique pioneered by Japanese botanist Akira Miyawaki, that helps build dense, native forests. The approach is supposed to ensure that plant growth is 10 times faster and the resulting plantation is 30 times denser than usual. It involves planting dozens of native species in the same area, and becomes maintenance-free after the first three years.

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This article shares the basic steps to create such forests in small urban spaces, as small as 30 square feet.

This guide is an abridged version of the DIY guide shared by Afforest, a service provider for creating natural, wild, maintenance-free, native forests. For a more detailed guide, you can check their detailed handbook.

Many organisations like Afforest, Thuvakkam (Chennai), and SayTrees (Bengaluru) use the Miyawaki method in afforestation. Afforest has planted 4.5 lakhs trees across their 108 projects; ninety of these sites are located in India. Say Trees engages with citizens and corporates, and has helped plant 70,000 trees in Bengaluru from 2008.
Step 1: Determine the soil texture and quantify biomass
Soil texture helps determine water holding capacity, water infiltration, root perforation capacity, nutrient retention and erodibility. Check if the texture is sandy, loamy or clayey.

What to add to the soil

  • Perforator materials help to improve perforation and allow roots to grow quickly. For this, we can use biomass that is spongy and dry in nature. Husk is a by-product and easily available at grain mills and animal feed stores. Other options include: Rice husk, wheat husk, corn husk (chipped) or groundnut shells (chipped).
  • Water retainer helps soil retain more moisture and water, as compared to its natural water retention capacity. Natural materials such as coco-peat or dry sugarcane stalk can be used. A good test is to dip the material into water for some time, and take it out and squeeze. If water oozes out during squeezing, then the material can be used as water retainer.
  • Organic fertilisers are required for nourishment. Different materials can be used depending on region and availability, such as cow manure, goat manure or vermicompost. Compared to vermicompost, manure is a slow nutrient-releasing plant fertiliser. Manure provides small amounts of nutrients over an extended period, whereas vermicompost gives high doses of nutrition initially but very little later on.
  • Mulch insulates and protects the soil. It prevents sunlight from falling directly on the soil. Direct sunlight will make soil dry and make conditions difficult for the young saplings. This is especially important in the first 6-8 months, as the plants are young. Mulch also plays a huge role in preventing water from evaporating. Options include rice straw, wheat straw, corn stalk or barley stalk.

Select the appropriate perforator, fertiliser and water retainer. Credit: Afforestt
Step 2: Select tree species for plantation
We should try to plant as many species as possible for biodiversity.

  • Make a database of all native species of your area. Identify its type (Evergreen, Deciduous or Perennial), advantages, maximum height and assign layer.
  • Check the native species saplings availability in the nursery, their age and sapling height. Ideal height is 60 to 80 centimeters.
  • Major species: Choose five different species to be the major forest species; these should be the species that you commonly find in your area. This will constitute 40-50 percent of number of trees in the forest.
  • Supporting species – other common species of the area will constitute 25-40 percent, and minor native species will make up the rest.

Select as many species as possible, for biodiversity. Credit: Afforestt

Select plants that grow up to different levels. Credit: Afforestt
Step 3: Design the forest
  • Master Plan: Identify the exact area for afforestation so as to procure materials and execute the project. The minimum width of the project area should be 3 metres, but 4 metres is recommended.
  • Watering Plan: The water pipeline layout may need to be designed by an architect, based on the daily water requirement for the area, backed by borewells and overhead tanks. The forest should be watered regularly for the first 2-3 years.
  • Planning Project Execution: We also need to identify spaces such as the material/sapling/equipment storage areas, site office and resting area for labourers. There should also be approach roads to the afforestation area for earthmover access, and to the materials/saplings storage areas for truck access, if the project area is large.
Step 4: Preparing the area
  • Site inspection: Visit the site to determine the feasibility and scope of the project. Take pictures of the site, and confirm the availability of fencing, maintenance staff, running water and sunlight. The site should get sunlight for a minimum of 8-9 hours a day. No pipes/drains/wires or debris should be present in the area.
  • Removing debris and weeds: Weeds take away nutrition of the soil, and also restrict movement of materials and people. Hence they should be cleaned either manually, or using a JCB/John Deere Tractor if the area is huge. Ensure that the pulled out weeds are disposed away from the site; else they may re-grow.
  • Watering facility installation: There should be a main line with watering outlets for hoses, which can reach the entire area of the forest. Watering should be done everyday manually using a hosepipe with a shower, and not by drip irrigation, sprinklers etc. The requirement is around 5 litres/sq metre per day.
  • Physical demarcation of areas: The areas should be marked (with limestone powder or wooden peg/rope) before earthwork starts. Ensure that the marking of areas matches 100 percent with the master plan.
  • Making approach roads to marked areas: Clear weed growth, big stones and boulders. The path could be of any material (soil, sand, gravel, tar etc.), but trucks/tractors should be able to use it.
  • Mound identification: The forests are usually created on 100 sq metre mounds, and each of these need a serial number in the order in which they will be created. Only after one mound is created and plantation completed on it, can the next mound be created.
Step 5: Plant the trees!
  • Mixing materials: Perforator, water retainer and fertiliser, all without clumps, should be mixed together. They should be mixed in the exact ratio as was decided initially, for each mound.
  • Preparing the ground for plantation: Each forest is created on a 100 sqm mound. Using an earthmover machine, first dig the earth to a depth of 1 metre on the 100 sqm land. Put half the earth back into the pit and spread it uniformly. This is to make the soil loose. Mix with the soil half the biomass prepared in the previous step. Then put the remaining soil back into the pit and spread it uniformly. Now mix the remaining biomass with this soil evenly. Afterwards, shape the soil into a mound. In the Miyawaki method, all saplings will be planted together on a mound, unlike conventional plantations where individual pits are dug up for each sapling.
  • Selecting trees for plantation: Place plants on the mound to create a multi-layered, natural forest. Try to group plants that grow into different layers – shrub, sub tree, tree and canopy – in each sqm. Try not to place two trees of the same kind next to each other; also, don’t follow a pattern while planting the trees. Try to maintain a distance of 60 cm between saplings. The goal is to have random, dense plantation of native tree species.
  • Plantation: To plant the tree, dig a small pit on the mound with a trowel, remove the root bag in which the plant was growing, and gently place the plant in the pit. Level the soil outside gently around the stem of the plant, but do not press or compact the soil. There should not be more than 8-10 people on a mound at a time, since the idea is to plant on loose, aerated soil.

Plantation on a mound. Pic: Afforestt
  • Support the plants with sticks: Saplings need support during the initial months so that they don’t droop or bend. Insert support sticks into the soil close to the plant, without damaging the roots of the plant. For plants shorter than 1 metre, use 1 metre-long bamboo sticks. For taller plants, use slightly thicker 2-2.5 metre-long bamboo sticks. Tie the sticks to the plant stems using thin jute strings. Support sticks will be needed for at least every alternate plant.
  • Mulching: Mulch should be evenly laid out on the soil, in a 5-7 inch layer. To ensure that the mulch stays on the ground and does not fly around, it should be tied down with jute ropes. For this, bamboo pegs should be nailed at the periphery of the forest. Tie the pegs to each other with rope, pressing down on the mulch. There should be 30 pegs, each around 2 ft long, around every 100 sqm mound.

Use jute ropes to tie mulch to the ground. Pic: Afforestt
  • First watering: The first time, the forest should be watered for an hour. Minimum water requirement is 5 litres per sqm, or 500 litres per 100 sqm mound.
Step 6: Look after the forest for three years
  • Monitoring: The forest should be monitored once in 1-2 months, to check if the targets have been achieved and if any changes should be made to improve results. This should be done the first 8-12 months. Count the number of saplings that have survived, and record the data. Growth of selected species should also be monitored.
  • Maintenance:
    • Water the forest with hose pipe once a day.
    • Keep the forest weed-free for the first 2-3 years. Once the forest starts growing, weed growth will stop.
    • Ensure that the plants stay straight, are not buried under the mulch, and are only loosely tied to the support stick.
    • Keep the forest clean, and free of plastic, paper etc.
    • Maintain proper drainage system so that water does not get accumulated anywhere in the forest. Do not build bunds in the forest, as accumulated water can kill plant roots.
    • Mortality rate of plants is usually 2-5 percent. Mortality is to be checked only after 3-4 months of planting.
    • Do not use any chemicals like pesticides or inorganic fertilisers. If you notice pests, leave them undisturbed. The forest will slowly build its own mechanism to keep itself healthy.
    • Mulching should be maintained for at least one year. The soil should be re-mulched with time, since dry soil is detrimental to forest health. Also, never remove organic matter like fallen leaves from the forest floor, as it will kill good soil microbes.
    • As the tree grows taller, longer support sticks may be needed so that the tree shoot does not bend and become weak.
    • Never cut or prune the forest as it could make the forest weaker.

A full-grown Miyawaki forest. Pic: Afforestt


http://bengaluru.citizenmatters.in/how-to-make-mini-forest-miyawaki-method-34867
 

HariPrasad-1

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Every Village should have cow grazing area and water conservation bodies. In deserts of Rajasthan, people have made miracle by developing sustainable water sources. These models must be replicate everywhere. Every village should have water conservation bodies, cow grazing area, medicinal plant gardens fruit forest etc. If this is done, villages can be prosperous. I will start posting such excellent and inspiring things from here onward.
 

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Ralegan Siddhi: A sustainable village model for the country
by admin • 23/01/2019 • 1 Comment


Sustainable Development envisages that people should not merely participate, but be in charge of their own development. As part of an experiential learning mechanism for the course of ‘Concepts of Sustainability’ under the under the guidance of Dr Rahul Hiremath, the students of SCMHRD from the Infrastructure Management batch, were able to apply their course knowledge directly by visiting Ralegan Siddhi village, which is a result of remarkable work by Mr. Annasaheb Hazare. Throughout the visit, the students were enlightened about the notable journey of Mr. Hazare, who not only transformed the village through his demonstration, but also empowered the villagers to lead the development.



Mr. Anna Hazare addressing IM batch
Ralegan Siddhi is in a drought-prone and rain-shadowed area of Maharashtra. In 1975, this was a place of poverty and hopelessness. The abuse of their natural resources coupled with water runoff and soil degradation meant that this village of about 2,500 people, mostly farmers, was un-farmable. Wells ran dry which made it difficult for people to find drinking water during part of the year. As a result of which people started leaving Ralegan Siddhi in search for work and a livelihood elsewhere, an understandable choice considering the situation they were facing. But, just as it seemed that there was no hope for Ralegan Siddhi, a bright light emerged. That bright light was a man named Shri Baburao Hazare popularly known as ‘Anna’. After his retirement when he returned to Ralegan Siddhi in 1975 he was saddened by what it had become. It was an extremely degraded village with large scale migration, ill health, low productivity and a flourishing business in the illegal distilling of alcohol, resulting into violence, especially against women.

Anna decided to find a solution and began interacting with the community, spreading his ideas, and getting people involved in water conservation and harvesting. He knew that the only way that the village could be revived was with the participation of the entire community, especially the youth. Anna started a youth society and village assembly to spread ideas and organize the village. It is from these stages that he spoke out against, and eventually eliminated, one of the larger problems holding the community back: alcohol.

He was able to identify water development as the primary need of the village, and that helped to mobilize popular opinion in his favour. His intervention to manage rain-water run off through watershed development was cheap, local, and maximized their use of local resources, especially labour. He went on to include community work to prevent erosion and to promote widespread afforestation. The holistic impact of these measures began to be felt within a decade. Now, the total productivity has increased manifold. There is a sense of community and sharing among all the people, and complete self-sufficiency in food grains.

Mr. Anna Hazare developed a six-point program that includes: ban on open grazing; ban on tree felling; ban on dowry; ban on consumption of liquor; family planning; and donation of labour. Post a walkthrough of the village’s high school, administrative block, community hall, dam, temple & museum, the students accompanied by the faculty members also got the opportunity to engage with Anna, where he addressed issues pertaining to rural sustainable development and its importance for nation’s overall economy.





https://blog.scmhrd.edu/ralegan-siddhi-a-sustainable-village-model-for-the-country/
 

HariPrasad-1

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Today I want to share with you an inspiring story of success. It’s a sort of rags-to-riches story. But this story doesn’t have to do with money (specifically); it has to do with the power of water. This story starts in 1975 in the Indian village of Raleghan Siddhi.

Raleghan Siddhi is in a drought-prone and rain-shadowed area of India, receiving between 450-650mm (17.5-25.5 inches) of water annually in a place where temperatures can reach 44 degrees (111 degrees fahrenheit). In 1975 this was a place of poverty and hopelessness. The abuse of their natural resources coupled with water runoff and soil degradation meant that this village of about 2,500 people, mostly farmers, was un-farmable. Any well that was less than 400m deep ran dry, and those that were deeper had a very limited amount of water to supply. This led to 70% of the households living below the poverty level. It also led to people having to struggle to find drinking water during part of the year. Because fodder couldn’t be grown livestock could not be raised which added to their struggle. People borrowed money and food where they could, promising to pay it back, but most of the time not being able to. This unfortunate situation led to a number of secondary problems.

One was the people started leaving Raleghan Siddhi in search for work and a livelihood elsewhere, an understandable choice considering the situation they were facing. However, often they found that they would be working long hours for little pay, making their situation only marginally better. Back in the village things seemed to start spiraling out of control. Local alcohol production started, leading to marginal prosperity for the producers, but alcoholism and more poverty for everyone else. 40 alcohol dens were in business at one point. This led to vandalism, fighting, theft and a sharp rise in domestic violence. Society was breaking down. The little water they had was being used and re-used, leading to contamination and disease. Children weren’t being educated. Local government officials, as desperate as anyone, became corrupt; taking money that was meant to help alleviate the poverty for themselves. But, just as it seemed that there was no hope for Raleghan Siddhi, a bright light emerged.

That bright light was a man named Shri Baburao Hazare, or ‘Anna’, meaning elder brother. He had grown up in the area, and moved to Raleghan Siddhi when he was nine. However, he ended up moving to Mumbai in order to get an education. When he returned to Raleghan Siddhi in 1975 he was saddened by what it had become, and based on successful projects he had seen elsewhere decided to do something about it. He began talking with the community, spreading his ideas, and getting people involved in water conservation and harvesting. He knew that the only way that the village could be revived was with the participation of the entire community, especially the youth. Anna started a youth society and village assembly to spread ideas and organize the village. It is from these stages that he spoke out against, and eventually eliminated, one of the larger problems holding the community back: alcohol.

With the village sober and motivated he started taking concrete steps towards bringing back their livelihood. He helped some get seasonal jobs, but recognized that these jobs would not be enough. They needed to bring back what they knew: farming. Thus, to bring back water, and eventually farming he undertook a project with the villagers to construct nalla bunds, something similar to what is shown here (click for larger image):





The purpose of nalla bunds is to eliminate soil and water run-off, catching useful nutrients and allowing the water to percolate into the soil and recharge the local aquifer. Anna enlisted local labor and constructed six nalla bunds in this first stage. The village later constructed a further 31 nalla bunds throughout the village with a storage capacity of 282,183 cubic meters. Along with these nalla bunds they also constructed contour bunds and shaped the land to direct water and soil into the bunds.

The village’s next task was to renovate an old percolation tank that had been built in the past. The tank was built with good intentions, but because of technical faults failed to hold water for more than two months, letting it seep out of the sides and be wasted. A percolation tank acts much like a nalla bund, holding a large amount of water and allowing it to slowly percolate into the soil. Money was donated by those who could give, and government grants were also received to support the project. Further, to help keep the soil permeable and help with percolation trees were planted around the tank. Once the tank was renovated it could hold 323,378 cubic meters of water! They were now well on their way to recharging their groundwater.



The logical next step was to dig wells near the tank, however, digging wells takes money, and the villagers didn’t have very much. To deal with this problem Anna brought together 16 poor farmers that held continuous plots (plots adjacent to one another), and they dug a well that was to be shared among them. Half of the cost was offset by labor provided by the farmers, and Anna borrowed the other half for materials. This well provided a regular supply of water for 35 acres of land, and was the first of eight community wells constructed over the next two years. Once all of the wells were constructed (and there was a supply of water due to the water harvesting projects) they were able to irrigate 700-800 acres of land and had water year round! To bring even more water to the community gully plugs and contour trenches were built, and shrubs, trees and grass were planted along the hillsides all around the village.



One last project specifically related to bringing irrigation water to the Raleghan Siddhi was to lift water from a canal 3km away. There had been 100 other attempts to lift water from this canal by other people, and they all had failed, but Anna and the people of Raleghan Siddhi succeeded. How did they do what so many others couldn’t? Their success is attributed to the formation of the Krishna Pani Purvatha Society to oversee the project and to maintain it. The society provided leadership, an administration system and held people accountable for doing their jobs and following the rules. There are 260 members of the society, 11 of which are chosen to be part of a committee that meets regularly. They have rules and guidelines to decide how much each farmer is charged for electricity and water based on cropping patterns, and each farmer has to outline how much water they will require, and failing to give this information results in a rate increase. People are held accountable to do their jobs, and are disciplined for failing to do so. However, discipline is rarely required because everyone is working towards a common goal of a productive and healthy Raleghan Siddhi.

Other projects Anna organized the village include the installation of boreholes and handpumps to provide drinking water, the planting of 400,000 trees, the introduction of “social fencing” to keep cattle from grazing indiscriminately, and stall feeding of livestock with cultivated fodder from their 500 acres of grassland. Drip irrigation was also introduced and successfully implemented by a number of farmers in order to conserve their precious water.

It should be noted that all of this success came from simple, traditional technologies that have been around for centuries. In this day and age everyone’s looking for the newest technology to solve the world’s problems, but a lot of the time we should be looking to the past for the solutions we seek.

Because of the work Anna and the people of Raleghan Siddhi have done their village now has plentiful amounts of water and is no longer a place of despair. People are happy. They have time to talk to one another and enjoy their neighbors. Their village is self-sufficient and they can grow crops year round. People and their crops are more productive than they’ve ever been and they are able to grow a wider variety of crops. Milk production has increased by four times the amount villagers previously were able to get. They no longer have to worry about having drinking water year round, and the woman no longer have to walk long distances to fetch water. Children can now get an education. There are too many great things going on in this village for me to write about them all, but needless to say, the people of Raleghan Siddhi are much better off now than they were pre-1975. But why did it work out this way?



When Anna came back to Raleghan Siddhi he brought with him a strong value system based on sharing, compassion, and equality. He organized the community and convinced them to implement the practice of sterilization (I am assuming to help control the population), a ban on addiction, ban on felling trees, and a ban on grazing. In addition, it was expected that everyone in the village would participate. With each new task the village would decide on an amount of time for each person to spend providing labor. This made sure that everyone did their part, and that no one had to do more than their share. It was a fair system and was the cornerstone of Raleghan Siddhi’s success. Participation gave the people of the community a sense of ownership and pride, and improved monitoring of the projects once they were complete to ensure they lasted for years.

When people get involved it motivates them. All of the sudden you’re not sitting around all day thinking about your problems, you’re taking part in the solution. You’re making a real difference in your community, and one that could be seen. Raleghan Siddhi turned itself around in 10-15 years. Yes, that may sound like a long time, but some things were completed within one year, some within the next few years, and so on. Everything built upon the project that was completed prior until the entire village was what it is today (and it continues to be improved).

There are a lot of communities around the world that are living today in the conditions that Raleghan Siddhi was living in in 1975. The story of Raleghan Siddhi is a story of hope. It is there to show you that anything is possible even in the darkest of times. If you’re a normal reader of HydrateLife you know that I write a series called Water Heroes. I could have made this a Water Heroes article about Anna, but this story isn’t about one man. Yes, Anna was the motivation, but it took the entire community to make this change happen and to make it last. Hopefully this article can inspire others to motivate their community to make some real and positive changes, and bring happiness to their home.

Below you’ll find a video that talks about what has happened in Raleghan Siddhi. Thanks for reading.
 

HariPrasad-1

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Permaculture is one such method by which you can make a self sustainable fruit forest. An extra ordinary beautiful bio diverse forest consisting of fruits medicines and other food trees and bushes can be made in in a special method which doesn't require any maintenance after 2 to 3 years. Even watering is not required. We can make it happen. It is very good for environment, economy and health. One can get best quality of food (fruits) for a long long period of time. Only work left thereafter is to pick the fruits from trees. No other maintenance is required.

Permaculture: Build Your Own Food Forest
Plant an edible forest garden on your farm, and reap the benefits of permaculture into the future. Here are the guidelines.



PHOTO: Dave Boehnlein

by Lisa Munniksma
January 19, 2018


Say all the good things you want about farming—even organic farming, even “sustainable” farming—but a field of production agriculture isn’t exactly natural; it doesn’t mimic nature. When you’re truly in nature, you don’t find bare soil, straight rows or plants growing outside of their natural habitat. You find something more like what can be achieved through a food forest or edible forest garden, which are design concepts often used in permaculture and natural-garden building.

“An edible forest garden is a garden that is based off the model of a forest in nature rather than an ag field,” says Dave Boehnlein, a principal at Terra Phoenix Design and education director at Bullock’s Permaculture Homestead in Orcas Island, Washington. Food production might be one goal of this growing system, but medicine, pollinator habitat, erosion control and more can also be achieved. The diversity of plants, their traits and their functions mean a stronger, healthier ecosystem than what you find in a typical, simple food garden. Food forests take a lot of work to become established, but as they mature over time, they require less maintenance.



To build a food forest, you don’t need acres and acres—you can grow as many as 300 species on a 1⁄4-acre lot, according to Dave Jacke, founder of Dynamics Ecological Design in Montague, Massachusetts. In fact, smaller might be better, so you can enjoy establishing and maintaining your forest garden. Food forests are possible in cities, as evidenced by the Beacon Food Forest in Seattle, and even on a floating barge—if you happen to have one of those around—such as Swale, a project in New York City.



Food-Forest Layers

A food forest, like a wild forest, has layers upon layers of vegetation and soil compositions as well as varying density, plant patterns and diversity.

“The whole idea of food forests, in general, is mimicking an ecosystem,” says Jacke, coauthor of Edible Forest Gardens, Vols. 1 and 2 (2005).

Among permaculturalists at large, the common architecture of a food forest has seven layers of vegetation; however, not all permaculturalists agree. Jacke argues that the food forest has five elements of architecture, and the oft-recognized seven layers of vegetation is just one of those elements.

“People have a tendency to oversimplify, but ecosystems are very complex,” he says.

Jacke sees the architecture of the food forest broken into:

  • the seven layers of vegetation, which is the focus of this article
  • the horizons of the soil, which relate to the physical properties of each soil layer
  • density of vegetation
  • patterning of vegetation
  • diversity of organisms
This is rather complex, as Jacke points out, but if you’ve spent any time in a forest in nature, you can easily picture and make sense of the presence of these elements.

Perhaps the simplest to conceptualize—and therefore the one most focused on in permaculture design—is the layers of forest vegetation.

“There can be as many layers as the designer wants or wants to perceive,” Jacke says. “‘Layers’ are a human concept we project onto the ecosystem. How many layers you design depends on your perspective and needs and site conditions.”

These layers—while fluid, as Jacke points out—are: tall-tree, low-tree, shrub, herbaceous, ground-cover, vine and root.

Tall-Tree Layer
This is the canopy of trees in your food forest. Choosing the right species for this layer can be tricky.

“When you’re putting in your tree layer, increase spacing by 50 to 100 percent as compared with conventional orchard spacing,” says Boehnlein, who co-wrote Practical Permaculture for Home Landscapes, Your Community, and the Whole Earth (2015). “Even when the trees get full sized, light will still get to the bushes you planted in between.”

As many as 90 percent of the food forests Boehnlein has seen are too-tightly packed in their design.

“People assume that what they’re supposed to do is jam stuff together,” he says, but the opposite is true.

Along those lines, when choosing canopy trees, think about how tall these trees will get and how that will affect your food forest in years to come. Boehnlein mentions Martin Crawford, author of Creating a Forest Garden (2010), who doesn’t include large nut trees in his food-forest designs. Boehnlein loves chestnuts and walnuts, but they’re forest giants.

“They take up so much space,” he says. “If you want to grow them, grow them as their own grove.”

Trees naturally feed the soil as they lose their greenery, in addition to all of the other functions they offer to a food forest.

Canopy Trees to Consider: Think about mulberries, persimmons, cherry trees and pine nut species for human and animal food; Amur maackia, acacia and black locust as nitrogen fixers and insect attractants.

Low-Tree Layer
The understory layer of trees might be dwarf varieties or simply species that don’t grow too large. If you don’t have a big area for your food forest or you don’t want to deal with mammoth trees, your low-tree layer might be your canopy-tree layer by default.

Consider the pest and disease issues presented by the plants you select, especially in the understory tree layer, where too-little airflow and sunlight can become an issue. Fruit trees are a natural fit for a food forest, but the health and production of some fruit trees—apples, peaches, plums and apricots—might require more air and light than a dense food forest allows.

Depending on the disease, fungal and pest pressures in your area, Boehnlein suggests putting susceptible species elsewhere or adjusting your layout: “If you have a food forest that tops out at 12 feet, then these lower trees make a lot of sense.”

Alternatively, you could put taller trees to the north and lower trees to the south—if your garden is located in the northern hemisphere—so everyone has a better shot at getting the conditions they need.

Take Boehnlein’s tree-spacing suggestion to heart here, too.

Understory Trees to Consider: Look into pears, figs, pawpaw, citrus, coffee, olives and loquat for food; crabapple, hazelnuts and hawthorn as wildlife attractants and edibles.

Shrub Layer
In this layer, the sun or shade tolerance of plants is important. When placing shrubs, consider the great amount of sunshine they will receive when the food forest starts—the shrubs will often be taller than the tree saplings, after all —
as well as the increasing amount of shade they’ll have as the whole system matures.

Shrubs to Consider: Mull over blueberries, raspberries, currants, elderberries and gooseberries for food for humans and wildlife; goumi and pea shrubs for food and nitrogen fixation; serviceberries and nanking cherries as insect attractants and food; sweetgale to fix nitrogen in the soil and attract pollinators; woody herbs such as rosemary and lavender, which attract pollinators and offer food and medicine, are shrubs, too.

Herbaceous Layer

(Photo by Dave Boehnlein)
Herbaceous plants in a food forest are nonwoody plants—usually perennials or plants that reseed themselves. Annuals can also be included, but part of the appeal of a food forest is its regenerative abilities and the reduced amount of effort required as time goes on.

Sun and shade requirements are important in this layer, too. Sun-loving plants can find a home on the edges of the food forest, especially, where they won’t be as shaded by the taller layers.

“There are dozens upon dozens of medicinal species and species that attract beneficials or improve soils or act as ground covers to inhibit weeds,” Jacke says. “Much of the diversity of ecosystems and forest gardens is actually in the herbaceous layer.”

Herbaceous Plants to Consider: Ponder comfrey, borage and mullein mine minerals from soil depths, break up the soil with their large tap roots, can be harvested and composted for additional soil improvement, and offer medicinal uses; nettle—stinging and stingless—mines minerals and provides food and medicine; sorrel, parsley, banana, rhubarb and asparagus offer food.

Ground-Cover Layer

(Photo by Dave Boehnlein)
Plants that stretch and cover the soil fall into this category. The ground-cover plants out-compete undesirable plants so that you—rather than your weeds—are in control of the plants in your edible forest garden.

“When you disturb an area by planting your food forest, it is important to immediately plant something else (or mulch heavily),” Boehnlein says. “Any bare soil will turn into weeds. Without a ton more work, this is your chance to establish ground covers you want instead of the default weeds.”

Boehnlein adds that you’ll probably need to mulch around ground covers to get them established, too, or the weeds will move in while you’re waiting for the ground cover to do its job.

“Often what I do is plant larger, clumping ground cover plants surrounded by thick mulch at establishment, but wait on some of the low, spready, herbaceous plants until a bit later,” he says. “This is especially important with shade plants. If you plant lily-of-the-valley at establishment, you will just watch it fry in the sun.”

Ground-Cover Plants to Consider: Contemplate clover and alfalfa for nitrogen fixing, pollinator and medicinal benefits; oregano and mint for food and medicinal properties; creeping raspberry, erosion control; and miner’s lettuce, strawberries and lingonberries as food for people, insects and wildlife. Nonliving ground covers are important, too, such as mulches and rocks, both of which might feed the soil and reduce erosion.

Vine Layer
Using other members of the food-forest ecosystem, vining plants make their own climbing trellises and supports. You can add trellises, too—particularly if vining plants are opportunistic to the point of damaging other plants, such as a passionfruit vine taking over a mango tree.

“There is also a timing issue here,” Boehnlein says. “If you plan to have the vines climb in your trees, you need to get your trees established first, then plant your vines. Otherwise, the vines will just consume the young trees. Vines can also cause air-flow problems in areas with fungal-disease issues.”

Vining Plants to Consider: Evaluate malabar spinach, which offers food through the hottest weather, when other greens go dormant; muscadine grapes, kiwifruit and hardy kiwifruit for food for people and wildlife; nasturtium and passionfruit for food and insect attraction; any peas and beans, which might reseed themselves, for nitrogen fixing and food.

Root Layer
By nature, roots also have vegetative forms above ground, so some roots are also ground covers or herbaceous plants. Roots to be harvested should be shallow so that in their harvesting, the other members of the food forest aren’t disturbed.

Fitting in somewhere between the ground-cover layer and the root layer are edible and medicinal mushrooms.

“These No. 1 gourmet decomposers are pretty easy to grow, depending on the substrate available to grow them,” Jacke says. You can inoculate your soil and mulch with fungi spores or intersperse inoculated mushroom logs throughout your food forest. Jacke points out mushrooms are a great option for deep shade and steep or otherwise unfarmable land.

Other Roots to Consider: Reflect on ginseng, goldenseal and the cohoshes as medicine; horseradish as an edible and medicinal plant whose leaves offer living mulch; Jerusalem artichoke for wildlife, insect and human food; peanut as an edible nitrogen fixer; ramps as food; camas as insect attractant and human food; shiitake, turkey tail, pearl oyster, lions mane, garden giant and elm oyster mushrooms; the mycorrhizal biosphere exists within the root layer, too, and all of the diversity that you’re bringing into your food forest is contributing to its health and diversity.


The grid pattern illustration of a successful polyculture market garden provides shelter and light for vegetable production and allows easy access for maintenance. The grid’s spine consists of fruit trees and bushes, underplanted with herbs, strawberries and perennial vegetables. (Illustration by Jane Picksley)
What’s Right for You
The plants suggested in this article may or may not be appropriate for your own forest garden, depending on your location, climate, soil type, goals and more. Consider the cultivation and maintenance needs of each plant before you plug it into your food-forest design.

It seems that a food forest can provide everything you might need on your land, but before you go into full planning mode, look at the natural landscape of your area. If forest is a predominant ecosystem, a food forest could be right for your property. If you’re more in a prairie or desert, other permaculture-design options might be better, or your food forest might look more like a food prairie, food savannah, edible desert or food chaparral rather than a food jungle.

“A food forest is one kind of agriculture that is resonate with the idea of permaculture,” Jacke says. “It’s another tool in the toolbox.”

He points out it’s unexpected that the person who literally wrote the book on food forests is telling people that these systems might not be appropriate everywhere, but you can’t force nature. In fact, food forests revolve around doing just the opposite.

Food-Forest Functions
Just as in nature, every plant in a human-constructed food forest has one or more basic functions:

  • Human Food: This is usually a primary function of a permaculture food forest.
  • Soil Improvement: Plants and other natural elements can act as mineral accumulators and nitrogen fixers. They can halt erosion, break up heavy soils and more.
  • Insect Attraction: Not just pollinators but also pest-predator and parasitoid insects are drawn to different plants, so a range of insect attractors with different blossoming schedules and flower structures are vital.
  • Animal & Bird Habitat & Food Trees for birds to nest in, fallen fruit for your chickens to forage and places for other wildlife to nest are part of the whole picture of a natural system. These animals, in turn, offer fertilizer and pest control for your food forest.
  • Medicinal Uses: Many plants that are delicious or that offer soil improvement also are traditionally used in holistic medicine.
Throughout your food forest, you should have a good cross-section of plant functions. “We’re looking at all the little pieces and putting them into an assembly,” says Dave Boehnlein of Terra Phoenix Design.
 

Bhumihar

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@HariPrasad-1 do u consider neem oil as a good alternative to chemical pesticides?



I've heard stories that when people couldn't afford pesticides they would just spray a mix of water and Neem oil on their crops.
 

HariPrasad-1

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@HariPrasad-1 do u consider neem oil as a good alternative to chemical pesticides?



I've heard stories that when people couldn't afford pesticides they would just spray a mix of water and Neem oil on their crops.
Many other things as well such as Ankado, Dhaturo etc. A formulation called das parini ark is made out of that.
 

Bhumihar

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Many other things as well such as Ankado, Dhaturo etc. A formulation called das parini ark is made out of that.
Do u have any idea how much quantity of neem oil do we need for 1 acre of rice?
 

sorcerer

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neem cake are suppose to go into the roots of the plants right?
Correct

but also the neem cake extract can also be used

100 gms of Neem cake is required for 1 litre of water. The Neem cake is put in a muslin pouch and soaked in water. It is soaked overnight before use in the morning. It is then filtered and emulsifier is added -1-ml for 1-litre of water. It can then be used for spraying.

http://agritech.tnau.ac.in/org_farm/orgfarm_green_manure_neem.html


its more cost effective and you can also add neem cake into the soil.+ use it for spraying.
neem oil has to be managed or the whole spraying process kinda goes into waste..

Anyday..I prefer neem cake than neem oil
 

HariPrasad-1

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Correct

but also the neem cake extract can also be used

100 gms of Neem cake is required for 1 litre of water. The Neem cake is put in a muslin pouch and soaked in water. It is soaked overnight before use in the morning. It is then filtered and emulsifier is added -1-ml for 1-litre of water. It can then be used for spraying.

http://agritech.tnau.ac.in/org_farm/orgfarm_green_manure_neem.html


its more cost effective and you can also add neem cake into the soil.+ use it for spraying.
neem oil has to be managed or the whole spraying process kinda goes into waste..

Anyday..I prefer neem cake than neem oil
I am going to use neem crack in plantation to protect roots of plant from possible rotting. I am going to use it in my Miyawaki fruit forest as well.
 

HariPrasad-1

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Have a look at permaculture fruit forest. This will give you an idea how it looks like.

 

HariPrasad-1

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A couple make its private jungle. It has changed the area totally. Hundreds of vanishing species lives in this jungle. When there was no rain in other area, the area near jungle got enough rain.

 

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