Kalpana Manivannan quit her full-time job as a high school teacher and an academic coordinator to become an organic farmer. This is her story:

My small farm on the outskirts of Chennai is where I grow my organic vegetables and have plans of developing it into a self-sustaining space. My farmhouse, Kalpavriksha Farms, is solar powered and I have more than 20 fully grown coconut trees and 50 plus fruit trees and flowering tree saplings.

The passion to grow food was born out of the desire to provide my family with clean, nutritious, toxin-free food. The disturbing ugly side of the food industry and how we seem to have no choice but to buy whatever is sold to us fuelled my passion even more.

Building a self-sustainable Model

Building a self-sustainable model for living is something that I am working on. Towards an attempt to achieve that our small farmhouse on our farm is Solar powered. Rainwater harvesting is on the cards and a biogas plant is something we want to look into in the near future.

The satisfaction of feeding my family chemical free, totally organic, native, seasonal and nutritious produce is immense. I believe in native indigenous crops being the most nutritious and best suited for our bodies. I don’t support hybrid varieties and I am totally against GMO’s.

The satisfaction of feeding my family chemical free, totally organic, native, seasonal and nutritious produce is immense.

When I choose to grow my own food, I have full control of what I sow, what I reap, what I cook and what I feed my family. There is absolutely no room for doubt and that gives me immense satisfaction.

Working with your own hands, toiling and caring for the plants adds to that much more satisfaction when it’s time for harvest. I don’t think anything that we get easily can ever give you real satisfaction.

Working with your own hands, toiling and caring for the plants adds to that much more satisfaction when it’s time for harvest. I don’t think anything that we get easily can ever give you real satisfaction.

Why we need to change our way of life

In a world where, in the name of development and advancement we are running farther and farther away from nature, poisoning our own food and destroying the ecosystem we live in, there is a serious need to change our way of life. I am hoping we can slow down just a bit and get back to our roots…

Kalpavriksha Farms, PC: facebook/kalpavrikshafarms

When did farming become the most deplored occupation and can we change that perspective and help create a better outlook about it for our next generation? Can we even think of such a thing as producing our own food? In all these years of depending on the grocery store, is it do-able?  These are some of the many questions I am trying to find answers to, through my journey.

As an Aspiring Homesteader, I try my best to prepare things myself at home. I make my own soaps, body butters, detergents and cleaning solutions. I also bake my own bread, prepare my own jams, sauces, pasta and cook everything from scratch. I try to reduce my waste by composting my kitchen waste (which I use on my farm) and reuse and recycle non-biodegradable waste.

Kalpana Manivannan is a blogger, aspiring homesteader and a food safety activist on a journey towards zero waste. The views expressed are the author’s own.

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