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Preventing farmer suicides through ZBNF workshops

The root cause of farmers suicides is rarely delved upon both in the print media as well as television. Expensive fertilizers and pesticides that require loans and the resulting depleting soil fertility are at the heart of the small Indian farmers' problems. These constitute an importrant part of the vicious cycle that drives farmers to suicide.

The solution lies in the art and science of harnessing pre-existing systems in nature. These are the very same systems that keep forests alive without anyone having to plough, apply fertilizers, or pesticides. Padmashree Subhash Palekar's workshops teach exactly this and a lot more. Farmers learn how to source material from their own farms and increase the soil fertility and the robustness of each crop. This cuts their input cost to a negligible amount and hence this technique is called Zero Budget Natural Farming. VSA members have been actively volunteering with helping with the logistics of these workshops till now.

This year, VSA is organising one such workshop in December 2016 and is raising funds to minimize the fees to the farmers. Find out how you can contribute here.

Afforestation -clean air

VSA has planted more than 20,000 trees and has more than a hundred citizen volunteers looking after the saplings around the year.

Water conservation

  • Rainwater harvesting with continuous contour trenching (CCT).

  • Awareness and consultation for residential rainwater harvesting and groundwater recharge.
  • Nadi Swachata (river cleaning): awareness and cleaning drive for Ram nadi.

VSA members have made sure that many of their respective building societies follow good rainwater and ground water recharge practices. Many of these residences now enjoy round the year supply of ground water even during the most severe of droughts.

Without concrete constructions rainwater did seep in to the ground unhindered and recharge the groundwater automatically. Now with ecologically unsound construction practices, rainwater hardly seeps in to the ground. Add to that less rainfall due to climate change and rampant construction of multistory buildings, groundwater is decreasing everywhere as a result. Groundwater recharge just aims to compensate for this buy making sure rainwater is directly sent back to the aquifer.

Groundwater recharge works on the most simple principles.

For example, the average rainfall that Pune receives is about 750mm.

That is equal to 75,000 litres of water per every 1000 sq ft.

You can now easily calculate the number of liters you can receive on the roof of your buildings.

Mentoring farmers

VSA has been making sure that any farmer who gets in touch gets to know Subhash Palekar's method of natural farming.

We also make sure that their toxin-free produce is sold to the right market which recognises its value.

Toxin-free food

  • Mentoring farmers to adopt sustainable farming through Palekar’s Zero Budget Natural Farming (ZBNF)

  • Providing platform for marketing their produce.

  • Festivals for naturally grown seasonal fruits.

  • Collaborating with Subhash Palekar with ZBNF workshops to help farmers learn the art and science of natural farming.

VSA has been having a natural farmers' market on Sus Road, Pune and Baner road regularly for the past one year.

You can contact us for more details on these markets here.

Waste management

We reduce, reuse and recycle

  • Hillside cleanliness program: every month we collect discrarded waste on the Pashan hill side.

  • Conduct plastic collection drives every month

  • Domestic waste collection and recycling program

  • Share to save initiative: we try to share things in the community rather than everyone having to buy each.

Sustainable village programme

VSA intends to create sustainable villages by helping them adopt the 7-point programme that covers the following objective and practices:

  1. ZBNF natural farming

  2. Rainwater harvesting

  3. Mosquito-free village 

  4. Preventing plastic use and recycling where possible

  5. Replacing leaking taps and avoiding water wastage

  6. Bee conservation (bees being the main pollinators of crops)

  7. River conservation.

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