A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure despite overwhelming challenges.
Suneet Salvi was in the furniture business for many years. But as he turned half century, he began mulling over the direction of his life. “When will I do what I really want to do?” was the question he kept asking.
The answer was to emerge slowly, reflecting his love of nature, the desire for food not tainted with chemicals: “I want to work with farmer families. People should know who is growing their food and how it is being grown.”
His daughter introduced him to her college professor, Pratik Dhanmer, an architect living in Murbad, a village in Dahanau taluk, north of Mumbai. They talked and found they shared common interests and started looking for land together. He found that every year, from November to the onset of the monsoon, acres of land in Murbad lay fallow.
“There were many reasons for this, shortage of funds, lack of confidence among farmers about where they can sell their produce, etc. Since we were looking for land anyway, we decided to work with these people instead,” Suneet recalled. He leased four acres from the farmers and began work.
The aim was “natural farming”, not using chemical fertilizers or pesticides. Percolation ponds were dug to ensure water that runs out of the farm is absorbed into the ground. Multiple crops were planted, radish was grown underground, chilly, tomatoes and corn above ground and varieties of gourd on creepers.
Suneet is hopeful that as the farmers work on the land he has leased, they will learn and in turn apply these ideas to their own plots.
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