I am truly delighted to share the highlights of this 4 day meet (1st - 5th Jan) with you.
The 'One small step towards chemical free agriculture' as Devinder coins it, is his brain child.( article below). For a long time now, it has been Devinder's mission to equip marginal farmers and release them from their debts by linking like-minded green guardians on a common platform, help provide alternative safe farming practices. Hence, revolutionize the safe food movement, a dream now slowly manifesting not just for him but for all of us.
By educating and winning the trust of most spiritual leaders on food and trade issues, Devinder's concerns finds a voice to awaken and alert a vast devotee following. His perseverance is bound to bear fruition. His consistent proactive advice and interactions with Swami Ramdev, the yoga guru whose unceasing zeal since 2002 has been to educate the masses daily on apackage of seven simple whose message to all, more so to young India, is to take charge of the mind, body and soul. In fact while at the deliberations, we were invited by Swami Ramdevji to partake in his yog session amidst 40,000 devotees. Most admirable, especially when you get to witness first hand a 100 Surya Namaskaars in record time of 4 mins! Whilst each one of were dazed, overwhelmed at his energy levels, it also unraveled how unfit we all were! Swamiji does not just advocate good health through yog but to indulge in safe foods and avail the benefits of Ayurveda to make it an integral part of one's life rather than to be at the mercy of hospitals.
To this effect, Swami Ramdevji wished to explore how safe sustainable agricultural practices could be brought into the forefront of National food security that starts at the grass roots. Hence, 14 best practitioners in this field were identified from across the country and then invited for a 4 day deliberation at Haridwar. We had the privilege of Swami Ramdevji's energised presence throughout these 4 days from 9am- 8.30pm!
I have yet to know of any spiritual leader who takes such deep interest and quality time out to understand the best practices presented by each one of our veteran farmers. My joy knew no bounds as i had the privilege and opportunity to present and share my farm learnings with Swami Ramdevji, Devinder and our humble agriculture gurus. This was aired live on Aastha channel. The genuine interest, the probing dilemmas, the crisis faced by our farmers, the solutions were dissected and tackled in earnest by Swami Ramdevji. Most inspiring to see his intensity during our presentations, the grave questions asked, jotting relevant points in his small black note pad, then summed it all up with much ease.
It did not just stop there. The most important issue that arose was how this would translate on the ground. Then came an action plan to execute three safe sustainable farm models in Hardiwar to start with, as seeing is believing! Prompt decisions were instantly taken by Swami Ramdevji and Acharya Balkrishanji to allocate land in Hardiwar for the 3 farm models. Suresh Desai a founding member of an Organic Farmers' Club with over 400 members in Belgaum District of Karnataka will design a model, Subhash Sharma- whose 32 acre farm in Yavatmal is flourishing, and has become a model for hundreds of other farmers will design the second one. And me and team Annadana the third one...on the traditional vegetable and cereal for the purpose of seed production, multiplication and conservation. Concurrently Team Annadana will also design a seed bank, one that is replicable.
Further, to strengthen our models, the back up ammunition of time tested knowledge and expertise arising from our team of Krishi Vigyaans or Krishi Rishi as Swami Ramdevji fondly calls us are Natbar Sarangiji who maintains 365 indigenous rice germplasm collection, Raghuvanjiji on 100's of varieties of indigenous wheat, Dr Surendar Dalal expertise has no bounds on insect and pest management, Dr Narayan Reddy on his wisdom of integrated farm practices, Rajbir Singh from All India Pingalwara Amritsar sharing his successful experience, Amarjit Singh Sharma from Faridkot who continues with vigor in producing and marketing safe crops in the most infested toxic bowl of Punjab, Shoor vir Singh from Uttar Pradesh whose knowledge on 95 varieties of weeds and their uses is just incredible, Ahir Mayan Hamir from Kutch with his expertise on groundnuts and castor and the young new age farmer Poorvi Vyas, with her research and development background so handy to document and aid each one us willingly and cheerfully.
Work has already commenced in the selected fields with best practices in soil fertility management being implemented. A team of reliable, enterprising points of contact co-ordinated by Vinod Kumar Birkhani, Uttarakhand Open University, school of agriculture and Sanjay Khare, a dedicated sevak from Patanjali Peet Yog are monitoring this whilst we have come back to our respective destinations carrying forward the energy to our teams.
There is a buzz, an excitement, a challenge to plan and showcase low cost sustainable farm models and we hope to see this through in 2012.
An overwhelming response of interest and support continues to flow when Devinder Sharma's wrote about this on his facebook. Those interested to lend support may connect him on firstname.lastname@example.org
(From My right to Safe Food campaign newsletter) Jan 14, 2012