This weekend, I had a chance to stop by Ikigai Farms. Dinesh, who reached out to me a few months ago and requested that I check out the farm-living community that he is building. When I stopped by Ikigai Farm, Dinesh quickly reminded me that we both met about 15 years ago as part of an audio lunch of a music album by a common friend from AppLabs. Indeed, the world is so small, and we are all connected to each other within a few degrees of separation.
The word Ikigai fascinated me for a while, and I read the book recently. All of us have our Ikigai within us, ‘our reason for being’, for which we want to wake up every morning. This reason keeps us busy with work and fills us with meaning and happiness.
Ikigai Farms is a 20-acre sustainable farm-living community in Vikarabad. Its founders envisioned a community of like-minded individuals working together to farm organically, build with the earth, and stay connected to nature. I spent about half a day with Dinesh, who gave me a comprehensive tour of the farm and outlined his vision, mission, and passion. I had a chance to do some kayaking, have a hot cup of tea next to the water stream, and have lunch amidst nature in their community center.
Here is the drone shot of our Kayaking experience
Here is a summary of what I learned from my visit. I will definitely return along with the family, stay overnight, and possibly become a member of the Ikigai farming community. In their own words, this is how the Ikigai founders envision the DNA of an Ikigai Farm community member. An Ikigai Farm member would:
- want to reconnect with nature in search of their ikigai.
- aspires to build an earth home on a farm and spend a few days a month here.
- likes to grow vegetables and fruits in their food forest.
- doesn’t mind getting their hands dirty while planting a seed.
- can’t resist jumping in the pond for an evening swim.
- doesn’t think twice before climbing the mango trees to pluck.
- enjoys lying under a cloudless sky and observing star constellations.
- closely observes the colors of a crawling bug instead of stomping on it.
- sits next to the water stream to be reminded of the flow of life.
When fully completed and ready in a few years, Ikigai Farm will have a built-in forest ecosystem, which will be a self-sustaining ecosystem that consists of various trees, plants, birds, animals, insects, microbes, and more. Through the practice of permaculture or permanent agriculture, Ikigai aims to mimic the natural forest ecosystem and establish a sustainable agricultural community. Over 150 varieties of trees and plants are being nourished with natural fertilizing and pest control techniques.
All homes on the Ikigai farm follow the mantra of reduce, reuse, and recycle. They are minimally designed structures built with mud, stones, porotherm blocks, or reused construction material. They have solar power, connected to the grid. And all sewage is consumed by natural bio-digester tanks. In essence, Ikigai residents shall live in a net-zero dwelling where they give back to nature as much as they borrow.
Ikigai is fortunate to have a high groundwater table, thanks to the long stream that surrounds the farm on one side, and a lake that shares its boundary. Ikigai has two primary water sources that fulfill its members’ domestic and agricultural needs: a one-acre pond and a 100-year-old well located on the farm.
They have a community center with a built-up area of 2,400 square feet on the 1,000-square-yard plot that has been dedicated to community gatherings and other operational services. This includes a community kitchen and dining space. Ikigai has a future-oriented approach when it comes to fulfilling its power needs. An underground network of pipes has been laid (instead of hanging overhead cables) to avoid any potential hindrance to the growing trees. Additionally, government-subsidized power lines have been connected for irrigational use.