We spent a Saturday with an enthusiastic group of families, friends and couples getting away from the city into a green growing space with us and Raghu a former IT professional turned farmer at Chiguru Farms.
Located close to Bilikal forest which is the buffer zone of Bannerghatta park located 150-170 m above Bangalore, Chiguru is equipped with complete facilities; rooms, a dining area, seating and break-out areas. Built using eco-friendly materials limestone and mud, coconut tree wood an eco-sensitive infrastructure was used keeping families, children and the environment in mind.
We started the day with visiting beekeeping area, “Bee’s are important for the role of pollination, they are catalysts in the flowering and fruiting process” explained Raghu. The pleasant information from our honey-makers that every two bottles will never be the same as all flowers are seasonal. Bees are known to be fierce if disturbed, disciplined creatures guarding their queen and working together in procuring honey. We also learnt that the boxes are never disturbed during the day as this is their time of work. The bee-boxes are made in a way that the honey is extracted at one go without disturbing the insects.
Walking along the farm trail, kiddies of the group discovered massive sized gourds and pumpkins to their delight. The farmer explains that these jumbo sized veggies grew straight out of a compost pit. How was this possible asked the children, we explained that the seeds sprouted from cows manure and under the right nutrition levels grew huge and healthy. Another quick understanding on why we should value waste, a common occurrence for many who grow greens at home in the city and compost.
At the rainwater harvesting space, the other source of water is borewell. “The rains were better last year; in November last all our water harvesting pits were full”. Large drums full of jeevamruth solution made of a combination of cow slurry, urine, gram flour and jaggery is used frequently on farm. “The solution is left to ferment for a few days and sprayed to the roots after diluting with water.” These traditional methods of farming were used to practice widely before the green revolution came and are now coming back in farms. Everything is reused and recycled effectively.
The group was taken to the orchard space which has lemons, pomegranates, water apples, cherries, guava that had
folks learning plucking and even tasting. Chiguru grows uncommon varieties like breadfruit, fig, Japanese plum etc. Spices like pepper, clove, cinnamon, bay leaf and all-spice were shown and explained. The traditional and South India’s moringa or drumstick is seen growing almost everywhere. Known to be the richest source of iron, the powdered version is becoming famous and leaves/ flowers and fruits are consumed regularly in traditional homes.
Vermicomposting at the farm is another imperative natural process ensuring potassium and nitrogen-rich soil and manure. Nothing goes to waste at a farm, using banana leaves which are majority of the green waste that comes out and good ole’ cow manure layers are added and worms are introduced. After 50 days the fresh compost can be scooped out from top while the earthworms bury deeper.
We broke for lunch, a cat nap and played lagori which the group thoroughly enjoyed. The last activity was doing a bit of planting with delicious winged beans. They look like a gourd and taste like beans. The medicinal patch was the last space which everyone visited which had rosemary, thyme, stevia (sugar replacement), aloe vera, brahmi, bonesetter, lemon grass. Etc.
A packed day of learning, living and spending the outdoors productively for everyone with nature the tool in education.
A Green Venture specialises in curating educational farm visits in healthy interactive ways where you understand the role of nature in growing food, reaping the benefits of the natural world and switch to better living for yourself. We do these educational trips for schools, offices and interested individuals on a regular basis. You can directly contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 9886400312 for details.