In the toxic world of chemicals, forests are largely disappearing, and climate change has reduced the land available for cultivation. This phenomenon has been noticed drastically in India and across the world.
So to increase the productivity of crops, most farmers are using chemical fertilizers to get better produce. However, they do not realise that these chemicals will gradually degrade the quality of their soil for future farming.
One brilliant individual not only noticed the natural fertility of the land was being destroyed but also acted on it. Sandeep Saxena, who is a chemical engineering graduate from IIT Kanpur and an IIM Lucknow left his full time job and decided to dedicatedly do something to avoid this damage. He was deeply saddened by the extent of damage and had a strong urge to find a solution.
In the year 2007, he started an organisation known as Aranyaani in Madhya Pradesh in order to raise the ‘food forests’ on 2,500 acres of fallow lands. The organisation also assists farmers in the state to get their own food forest on about 4,000 acres of land.
They started forming a proper forest but there was already some human habitat on the land, due to which it did not affect the ecological balance.
They are creating food forests.
You probably have a question about how exactly does this work, right? Here is the answer- the soil is not tilled during the plantation and seed balls, i.e seed wrapped up in soil materials, are sown in the land. This helps them in maintaining the nitrogen cycle of the soil and its fertility.
As a beginning, they started with sowing Banyan and Peepal trees in the center of the chosen land, as this enhances the diversity and increases natural production. Thereafter the fruit-bearing trees are planted radially around the central zone with the vegetable shrubs and bushes grown with others.
Moreover, smaller plants like lemon and cranberry are planted in those open spaces because they don’t grow tall and come in the way of other plants. Also, in the last stage, the outer circumference is filled with lentils and legumes.
Fruits and vegetables which are grown here are sold in the local markets and also circulated on pan-india locations.
How do these forests impact the surroundings?
These trees can absorb the moisture from the air and hence are better equipped to deal with droughts. Trees such as neem and mulberry can control the temperature, and this type of food forest also strengthens the soil and prevents flooding. Currently, the forest has about 175 species, and this has not only helped to generate an organic trend among natives but also has increased the farmers’ income in this region.
Taking inspiration from such amazing champions of change, we at Nelda are also enthusiastic about our cause of plantation. We have an aim of planting and maintaining as many trees as we can in our city Pune, and encourage Indians to carry this aim ahead in their towns and cities.
If you wish to join in our mission, simply call us to get started!