“Bhaskar Save – the acclaimed ‘Gandhi of Natural Farming’ – completes 92 years. He has inspired and mentored 3 generations of organic farmers. In 1997, Masanobu Fukuoka, the legendary Japanese natural farmer, visited Save’s farm. He described it as “the best in the world”, even better than his own farm.
(In a hurry? Fast forward the video to 11:00 to hear Bhaskar Save’s message to man.)
Save’s farm is a veritable food forest; and a net supplier of water, energy and fertility to the local eco-system, rather than a net consumer.
Save’s way of farming and teachings are rooted in his deep understanding of the symbiotic relationships in nature, which he is ever happy to explain in a simple, down-to-earth idiom to anyone interested. In 2010, the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM) honoured Save with the ‘One World Award for Lifetime Achievement’.
Bhaskar Save’s 14 acre orchard-farm, Kalpavruksha, is located on the Coastal Highway near village Dehri, District Valsad, in southernmost coastal Gujarat.
About 10 acres at Save’s farm are under a mixed natural orchard of mainly coconut and chikoo (sapota) with fewer numbers of other tree species. About 2 acres are under seasonal field crops cultivated organically in traditional rotation. Another 2 acres is a nursery for raising coconut saplings that are in great demand.
The farm yield is superior to any farm using chemicals. This is true in all aspects of total quantity, nutritional quality, taste, biological diversity, ecological sustainability, water conservation, energy efficiency, and economic profitability. The costs (mainly labour for harvesting) are minimal, and external inputs almost zero.
“Who planted the great, ancient forests?” asks Bhaskar Save. “Who tilled the land? Who provided seed, manure, irrigation, or protection from pests? … In our forests, untended by man, the (human) food trees – like ber, jambul, mahua, mango, wild fig, wild sapota, tamarind, etc. – yield so abundantly in their season, that the branches sag with the weight of the fruit. The annual yield per tree is commonly over a tonne, year after year, carried away by forest dwellers, including man. But the earth around each tree remains whole and undiminished. There is no gaping hole in the ground! If anything, the soil is richer.
“From where do these forest trees – including those on rocky mountains – get their water, their nitrogen, phosphorous, potash? Though stationary, Nature provides their needs right where they stand. But arrogant modern technology, with its blinkered, meddling itch, is blind to this.”