Eating is an agricultural act - Wendell Berry

Sunday, July 04, 2010

as if on cue - save gets world award

the magnificent and legendary bhaskar save is recognised by the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM) with their 'One World Award for Lifetime Achievement, 2010’.

here is bhaskarbhai's profile as written by Bharat Mansata.

Bhaskar Save: The Man, his Work, Accomplishments and Impact

Bharat Mansata

“I say with conviction that only by organic farming in harmony with Nature, can India (and the world) sustainably provide abundant, wholesome food and meet every basic need of all – to live in health, dignity and peace.” -- Bhaskar Save (‘The Great Agricultural Challenge’, Earthcare Books*, 2008)

Born on 27-1-22 (and still quite active!) Bhaskar Save has over six decades of deep, personal experience in growing a wide variety of food crops, including fruit, rice, vegetables and pulses.

Ever happy to share his wealth of insights, Bhaskar Save – acclaimed as ‘the Gandhi of Natural farming’ – has inspired many organic farmers all over India, particularly in Gujarat and Maharashtra. His magnificent, 14 acre orchard farm, Kalpavruksha (in southernmost coastal Gujarat), is a veritable ‘food forest’. Like a natural forest, it is a net supplier of water, energy and fertility to the eco-system of its region, rather than a net consumer! Economically too, it fetches a manifold higher return than most modern farms – at minimal cost.

Masanobu Fukuoka, the globally renowned Japanese natural farmer, and author of the evergreen classic, ‘One Straw Revolution’, spent a day at Save’s farm on his last visit to India. He declared, “I have seen many farms all over the world. This is the best! It is even better than my own farm!”

Born in the Wadwal community of traditional farm-tenders, Bhaskar Save was a school teacher for about 10 years, before he became a full-time farmer. He began using chemicals in the early fifties, and was soon hailed a ‘model’ for the new technology. But by about 1960, before most farmers in India had started on chemicals, Save had already seen the pitfalls and totally stopped their use.

While Bhaskar Save gets very good yields from his two acres of organically cultivated field crops like rice, wheat, pulses and vegetables (grown in seasonal rotation), he has made outstanding pioneering contribution in natural orchard development with the simultaneous, mixed planting of alpa-jeevi (short lifespan), madhya-jeevi (medium lifespan), and deergha-jeevi (long lifespan) crops to rapidly regenerate the fertility of the soil, maximize irrigation efficiency, and provide continuity of food yield right from the first few months until the long lifespan fruit trees begin to yield abundantly.

The ecological benefits of widely adopting such integrated ‘food forest systems’ in India (or elsewhere) are enormous and far-reaching in time. With vastly increased biomass availability and microbial life in the soil, humus is regenerated. Moisture absorption, percolation and recharge of groundwater aquifers rises, aided by the passages created in the soil by the soil-dwelling creatures, micro-organisms and plant roots and fibres. Biodiversity increases, attracting birds, bees, butterflies… These, in turn, assist in the biological control of potential crop pests, or in improving pollination, and consequently, crop yields.

Save’s ‘platform and trench’ method (for irrigated fruit trees like banana, chikoo and coconut) enables a great saving in water, while the spongy soil under the canopy of the mature trees absorbs a huge amount of rain every monsoon to recharge groundwater. [See also ‘Water-efficient Trench Irrigation for Horticulture’ (on Bhaskar Save), by Bharat Mansata and Claude Alvares, published in ‘Good Practices & Innovative Experiences in the South’, Volume 2, 2001, co-published by UNDP, TWN & Zed Books.]

The extremely low-cost method of farming demonstrated by Bhaskar Save holds great promise for sustainably meeting the food and livelihood needs of millions at large. Till date, several dozen of articles have been written (in India and abroad) on Bhaskar Save and his way of natural farming – in English, Marathi, Gujarati, Hindi, Telugu, Malyalam, etc. Several TV channels have made and broadcast short films on him; and half a dozen or more awards have been conferred on him. A full-length book on Bhaskar Save and his way of farming, titled ‘The Vision of Natural Farming’ by Bharat Mansata is to be published by Earthcare Books.

Chemical Farming Vs Organic Farming

by Bhaskar Save

1) Chemical farming fragments the web of life; organic farming nurtures its wholeness.

2) Chemical farming depends on fossil oil; organic farming on living soil.

3) Chemical farmers see their land as a dead medium; organic farmers know theirs is teeming with life.

4) Chemical farming pollutes the air, water and soil; organic farming purifies and renews them.

5) Chemical farming uses large quantities of water and depletes aquifers; organic farming requires much less irrigation, and recharges groundwater.

6) Chemical farming is mono-cultural and destroys diversity; organic farming is poly-cultural and nurtures diversity.

7) Chemical farming produces poisoned food; organic farming yields nourishing food.

8) Chemical farming has a short history and threatens a dim future; organic farming has a long history and promises a bright future.

9) Chemical farming is an alien, imported technology; organic farming has evolved indigenously.

10) Chemical farming is propagated through schooled, institutional misinformation; organic farming learns from Nature and farmers’ experience.

11) Chemical farming benefits traders and industrialists; organic farming benefits the farmer, the environment and society as a whole.

12) Chemical farming robs the self-reliance and self-respect of farmers and villages; organic farming restores and strengthens it.

13) Chemical farming leads to bankruptcy and misery; organic farming liberates from debt and woe.

14) Chemical farming is violent and entropic; organic farming is non-violent and synergistic.

15) Chemical farming is a hollow ‘green revolution’; organic farming is the true green revolution.

16) Chemical farming is crudely materialistic, with no ideological mooring; organic farming is rooted in spirituality and abiding truth.

17) Chemical farming is suicidal, moving from life to death; organic farming is the road to regeneration.

18) Chemical farming is the vehicle of commerce and oppression; organic farming is the path of culture and co-evolution.


Unknown said...

Hi csm,
I have been reading your blog from the time i came to know about you through point2return website.
I had recently brought a small peice of land and was more interested in making profits.But reading your blogs changed my precepective of farming itself. As i'm a first time farmer i really dont have any idea about farming.
could you please tell me where i can get the books mentioned by you in bangalore.
Once again Thank you very much for your daily updates :-)

Warm Regards,

csm said...

hi avinash - the books i would recommend are:
1. agricultural testament - sir john howard
2. one straw revolution - masanobu fukuoka
3. natural way of farming - m fukuoka
4. the great indian agricultural challege - bhaskar save

these books are more on the philosophies of natural farming.
but these are mandatory reading before one gets into farming.
and after reading, you should visit some great farms - like we have done.
you should hook up with Raj ( he is based in blore and has his kitchen garden.

you should try the strand book store in blore. you should check Earthcare books ( for online buying.
i could mail you an online version of one straw revolution if you mail me on sriramskd AT gmail DOT com.

please feel free to write to me for more details.

ABHI said...


I am a first time farmer too and looking for good books for reference ... Please send me "One strand revolution" PDF ... I have send a mail to you ....


Anonymous said...

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Is this possible?