Greening Our Future

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The GROUNDING OUR FUTURE seminar organized by SCI INDIA with ASTRA and AVIRATHA as local partners. The venue of the seminar was Niswarga, a green resort on the delta of the Harangi backwaters in the Kodagu district of Karnataka.

It was a clear morning but began pouring incessantly. The seminar with around 40 participants was scheduled to begin at 11 but because of heavy rains, it begun at 12 with all the scheduled facilitators and participants arriving on time. For our bonus we had Mr Eranna, an expert farmer who has been awarded many awards at district and state levels and was also a part of a study tour delegation to China.

The seminar begun with a welcome by Mr Guru Raj Jayanna followed by an introduction presentation to ‘Grounding our Future’ by Fabrizio Goglia and Anna Dorgens. With a small technical snag, the seminar continued with Mr Eranna throwing light on various types of sustainable farming including vermicomposting, crop rotation, biogas, compost manure and recycling dried plants and leaves into other domestic uses. Mr Eranna also spoke about the difference between country domestic animals and those imported from outside. How the former shades over the other. Mr Eranna finished his talk by sharing his Shanghai experience. Though the talk was in the local language- Kannada, most of the translation was done for Fabrizio and Anna on the spot.

Second in line was Mr CK Devdas, Joint Director of Agriculture for Kodagu district. Mr Devdas spoke on the facts and figures of agriculture related to produce, demand and supply. He also gave a description of the funds and other facilities available from the government towards sustainable farming, composting and adaptation of renewable energies for farming. This speech was very informative and educative to the local farmers and other participants who are related to agriculture.

“Solar power and its effective practices” by SELCO represented by Mr Ashok presented the uses and advantages of using solar power for small domestic purposes. For the past fifteen years, SELCO has concentrated on building the necessary parts for a sustainable and scalable model for energy services delivery through its bottom top approach. In the process, we’ve developed the thinking ability to not only sell and service solar lighting systems, but other energy services to improve and empower our lives.

It was lunch time at half past two. All the participants had lunch at Niswarga. The lunch was a buffet of vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes was followed by informal discussions among the facilitators and the participants when everyone joined for the afternoon session. The afternoon session begun with a song on ecological imbalance, global warming and other issues that lead to climate change by Mr Lakshman of Vikasana and others.

The first facilitator for the afternoon session was Mr Ravindra who spoke on „Carbon Handling – Capture, Store and Recycle: A beacon for the Future”. It was surprising to see the local participants and farmers asking questions and raising doubts on the efficiency of captured carbon and the costs involved in capturing and handling of carbon. The presentation was appreciated by all the participants.

“Herbal Medicine” by Mrs Lily Varghese took the participants by surprise to learn about how the plants and herbs that we come across in our everyday life are used as medicines for different ailments. Mrs Varghese took some time to pick plants, leaves, flowers and herbs from around Niswarga to present at the seminar. The participants were made aware of the merits and medicinal characteristics of plants and herbs both scientifically and traditionally. From the uses of Tulsi for a sore throat to Aloe Vera for skin diseases was an interesting, informative and educative talk.

As the seminar inched towards the end of the day’s activities, Mr Lakshman spoke on “Sustainable Practices of Agriculture” throwing light on the procedures of agricultural practice right from tilling the land, sowing seeds, usage of bio fertilizers, compost manure, eco-friendly harvesting and ways of storage other than those that use electricity and non-renewable energies.

The most important part of the seminar- the presentations, lectures and discussions ended with a vote of thanks. Books related to sustainable agriculture, herbal medicine and solar power were distributed to all the participants by “Grounding our Future”- India team.

Dinner for participants who stayed overnight was served. The next morning due to heavy rains, the field visit to Devarakadu was cancelled and only the organic farm was visited. Chandan from Astra; Abinash, Gururaj, Prabhuswamy, Fabrizio and Anna visited and interacted with the farmers at the organic farm. The visit was interesting as we could practically see whatever was discussed at the seminar. Live examples of Vermicomposting, Biogas (also called Gobar gas), organic manure, rainwater harvesting, bund construction and terracing to avoid soil erosion were some of the live examples we came across at the visit.

Following the visit was lunch and here ends the seminar “Greening our Future”

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