Eating is an agricultural act - Wendell Berry

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

eat mangoes till you drop

this was the invitation floated by ananthu.
an offer too tempting to let pass by.
a glorious day of mango eating unfolded.
the location was leo farm in tiruvallur district in north tamilnadu.
the invitee was bharathi, the owner. a remarkable man.

spread over 150 acres, this farm is one of the few places where the beautiful cycle of nature plays out.

the visiting crew. karpagam, sumathi and ananthu.

with the remarkable bharati...

the tree and the fruit in close up.

eating, drinking, slurping...

tired from all the standing and eating, now sitting and eating...

let me get to explaining the cycle which i referred to earlier.
since bharati uses natural farming systems, there is obviously no usage of any form of chemicals.
and natural farming theory clearly does not label. so there are no 'weeds'.
and so the farm is full of wild growth.
please do notice the beautiful rain clouds building up in the background.)

of course, this could overrun the place. so here is the control mechanism (aka the weeding crew).

a team of over 150 goats, cows, horses, donkeys graze the succulent grasses and shrubs. with no supervision.
here is the beauty, they are free to eat the mangoes too. no restrictions. bharati says evocatively, "we sell whatever remains after the animals have their fill."

and here comes the double beauty. as the animals graze, they drop dung and urine all around the trees. this encourages the explosion in the population of the insects, worms and a variety of micro-organisms. they converge onto the dung and convert it into nutrients back to the plants and trees.
in the meanwhile, the leaves shed by the trees forms a thick carpet under the canopy and as they decay, the earthworms come into play and voila, vermicompost generation in-situ.
this healthy soil makes healthy plants, which bear healthy fruit, which we eat till we drop.

and bonus shot as we invade the privacy of a couple of grasshoppers.



Unknown said...

gaaa! jealous. Slurping mangoes at the end of the season!

Nice guy Bharathi, so generous with humans and animals alike.

Why is Sumi so introspective? Stole her mangoes too?

csm said...

even 4 voracious mango eaters cant make a dent on the quantity available.

Rags said...

Which variety of mangoes were there?

Preeti Aghalayam aka kbpm said...

nice to read even for a non-mango eater!

siddharth said...

wow! great pics and description. and mouth-watering...considering I havent had a decent mango in 10 years. it is very inspiring to see another living example of natural farming. lots of questions: how does bharathi provide water to mango trees that are spread out over 150 acres? Or does he just rely completely on rain? How many years do the mango trees bear fruit? How does he deal with weather extremes that are bound to occur once in a few years (i.e. is there other crop interplanted so as to sutain a living if the mango trees do not produce much in a particular year?)

csm said...

rags - we ate rumani, kalabadi and rasalu. he also grows banganapally, alphonso, sendoora, bangloora and some hybrids (these had been fully harvested).

kenny - you need to source from this place. next year.

sid - watering only in 2 months of summer via drip irrigation system.
interestingly, he has dug kilometers of trenches along the farm for rain water harvesting. not an optimal system, but works like a charm to keep his roots well moistened.
his farm and hence tress are 10 years old and have been fruiting well for the last 5-6 years, i.e., in 4 years from planting.
he has no intercropping now. he has separate pieces which grow gooseberry, chikoo, bananas, coconut types. he mentioned about trying to grow vegetables in the middle of the trees till the canopy spreads to cover the entire ground.
this part of town has only one type of extreme weather, namely, storms. high temps do not exceed 42 deg.
he did not seem to have experienced any adverse season till date. it is still a very young farm.

joven said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
The Wolf Pack© said...

Can u tell me the way to reach this place

Jegansatya said...

Can u tell me the farm address and owner Bharathi ph number

csm said...

the details will be available with gopi at OFM.


Please send me the address and phone number of Barati natural farming

VIMALRAJ K said...

Please share the correct location of Leo barath Farm.. I'm very much interested in visiting there...

VIMALRAJ K said...

Address I found by a long journey from Chennai..
****Arakonam to Jaya Agriculture college. From there to Kaverirajapuram.****
Then there you can ask for Leo Bharathi Farm.

Lavanya said...

We too own one mango farm in KaveriRajapuram.. It is wonderful to know abt your farm..:-)
Do let us know... we are open too to create such initiatives and to provide an opportunity to people who have limited access to such places and whose who want to forget themselves in the wonderful natural surroundings!!!!