Radhika often talks about one of Sri Sri’s articles, in which Guru says that all-around exposure to life can be achieved in as few as five days. He says, we spend a day with a farmer, another day in jail (without committing a crime), a day at a psychiatric hospital, a day as a school teacher, and finally a day at a funeral home. Sounds different and interesting. Do read the article mentioned in this blog at the bottom. Today, I spent a day with the only farmer that I know closely, Venky Talla, also known as “Venky”, who is my classmate from JNTU days, who also spent a good time in the US, and who moved back to Hyderabad almost at the same time as me.
Venky calls himself an IT farmer and has always been a worried man, like most of us, about food pollution, the use of pesticides in farming, and a dozen other environmental issues plaguing our home planet today, etc. However, Venky has decided to do something about his worry. He actually started his own 13-acre farm a decade ago, evangelising organic farming via Hyderabad Green Acres and positively influencing the ecosystem (land, villages, other organic enthusiasts, and more) around Bhongir. If you take a look at his farm via Google Earth, I have been told, that the only patch that shows green around his farm vicinity is his Hyderabad Green Acres.
After a decade of venturing into farming, I finally got a chance to visit his farm today, along with Aniketh Chintala and my nieces Shreya Chintala and Akshaya Chintala. Since the weekend is pretty much over, my brief blog and a 10-minute video of my visit to Organic Farm, with Manav Talla (Venky’s 10th grader son) as the tour guide, are released for your viewing pleasure.
I remember Venky going to the farm every weekend for the last 12 years, and today I felt it was a well-worth and satisfying effort after visiting the farm. It was also quite endearing to see Venky’s 10th grader (who is also a US-born kid) talking so fluently and passionately about organic farming. It was a great experience for kids to see firsthand how a farm is run and the effort that is required to truly make it organic. I loved his statement, “There is no trash can on the farm. Everything here is recycled” So after we ate fresh mangoes in the firm, we did not look for a trash can for throwing our food residue.
Hyderabad Greenacres is a rustic wilderness that helps urbanites connect with nature. It is an organic farm and an outdoor camping site, too. Check out the website and Facebook page. Venky says his farm is an attempt at simple, alternative, Venky says his farm is an attempt at simple, alternative, and “sustainable living” in a natural setting and explores ways to tread more lightly on the planet. It gives one an opportunity to observe nature, introspect, and reflect upon our lifestyles and also our role in this natural world, how we are spoiling it, and what we can do to avoid it. While one can enjoy a farm stay in the idyllic countryside away from the hustle and bustle of city life and come to appreciate nature, it provides food for thought about sustainability and a transition plan to live beyond cheap fossil fuels.
Radhika and I have been enjoying the byproducts of this farm for a long time. The source of mangoes for pickles this summer is also Venky’s farm. I mentioned to Radhika that now the farm is equipped with separate washrooms for boys and girls, a basketball court, a small pool, and more. She is now planning to arrange for a 3-day AOL camp at the farm to get kids and class participants to experience the Satvik style of living.
Venky hopes that this model will inspire and motivate people to channel some of their actions towards what we can call individual social responsibility. The farm is located close to the Yadagirigutta-Raigiri junction on the Mothkur road, past Bhongir Fort, about 65 km from Hyderabad city. If you are interested in knowing more about Venky’s initiative, you can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Key Highlight of Venky’s Journey:
- Acquired 5 Acres of Barren Land in 2000
- Began Farming from 2003
- Spent 500 Saturdays and Sundays
- Planted 350 Mango & Coconut Trees
- Started Cultivating Rice & Dal
- Added another 3 Acres in 2005
- Planted 500 Teak Trees
- Added Another 5 Acres in 2010
- Now a beautiful Farm of 13 Acres
- Now fully Chemical Free & Natural Farming
- Polyculture orchard with 20 species of fruit trees.
- Nearly 100 different tree species with over 1000 mature trees
- Produces seasonal fruits and vegetables
- Gobar-gas plant, Solar water pumping system, Rain water harvesting structures
- Hosted 1000 visitors in the last six years.
- Ideal site for camping, star gazing, and more
- Now constructing low carbon footprint green building.
- Make the farm self-sustaining
- Weekend farmer to a full-time farmer
- Produce enough healthy food
- Generate revenue to pay for itself
- Making carbon sink and food forest with a bio-diverse habitat for flora and fauna.
Awesome Article from Sri Sri (from blog @ http://srisriravishankar.org/different-faces-of-life/) which allows one to get a true introspection of our LIFE before it is too late.
The ancient scriptures say that we are all floating like shells in a vast ocean of life. Even though everybody is born out of the same consciousness, no two lives are the same. As diverse as our lives are, they are interdependent on each other, and there is something to learn from everyone. To get an all-around exposure to life, take out not too many but just five days.
Spend one day with a farmer. Go with him to the farm early in the morning and see whatever he does throughout the day. You will become sensitive towards the environment and towards food. One-third of the food in the world is wasted or thrown away. Spending the day watching the farmer will let us know the hard work and resources that go into producing food. And then we will think twice before wasting it.
Spend one day in jail (but without committing a crime). You will realise that the people we label as criminals and put in prisons landed there due to circumstances or due to ignorance. When anger grips a person, he is not in control of his actions. If you ask the most hardened criminal, they will say, “I didn’t do it. Something came over me, and it just happened.” It will become evident that inside every culprit there is a victim crying for help. Compassion will arise in your heart. If you have hatred in your heart towards anybody, that hatred will vanish.
On the third day, become a school teacher. You will understand why a guru is needed. Wherever you are in life, there are so many people whom you can help and guide. It brings a deep satisfaction within. It’s not that only those with long hair and beards can be gurus. Everybody can play the role for at least some people. You don’t really need a special skill to be a guru; you just need compassion. Being a teacher, you can channel that compassion towards people. “I want nothing but my students progress.” Such unconditional love comes into our lives.
Spend the fourth day in a mental institution. Whatever anybody in a mental hospital says to you, whatever names they call you, you won’t take it to heart. After spending a day when anybody can say anything to you, you will develop the strength to face criticism without being shaken. Not only will you be strong enough to accept all criticism, but you will also have compassion for those who criticise you. We get anxious over small matters. “What does he/she think about me?” We are shaken, and then we react to these things. You should have the courage to give and receive criticism. If we teach our children this, they will grow into strong and stable members of society.
Spend one day in the cemetery or funeral home. You will have a very close and intense experience of the impermanence of life. Whatever complaints you have will vanish. Having the experience that death can come at anytime will change your perspective on life for good. Only a formal education is enough. It is important to explore different dimensions of life to get a holistic education. When we keenly see the different facets of life unfolding around us, it makes us centred and established in ourselves.
8 thoughts on “A Day with an IT Farmer”
Great work by venky
Towards saving our mother earth and people…
Thanks for sharing your experience at the Farm. Lovely narration and awesome pics. I would like to join the 3 day camp.
Jai Guru Dev
Thanks for Sharing and wonderful presentation of the information, will connect with Venky. Jai Gurudev : Ravi
dilip, / good article, was trying to know more about hyd green acres /