Who are our workers, partners in creating our food forests, and in holding this beautiful ecology together?
Before starting on the journey, that question had to be correctly answered. Initially, I did the error of thinking that seed suppliers, credit suppliers, advisors, etc were our partners and farm operators our main workers.
Over time, I have evolved to realize that our frontline workers are honey bees, earthworms, microbes and their likes. Then next in importance come snakes, birds, and other animals, various flora plants. Then came the tribal and other village community around us. Then came our human workers on field.
It was a disturbing thought as I delved deeper. Why? Because no organization can be successful if its most critical workers are scared, stressed and fighting for survival.
That started the Aranyaani project. First task in 2006 was to save a habitat on our farm where a large cobra lived and still lives. That day onwards, our soil, and flora were going to be safe habitats for our non human workers.
In all neighboring areas, they were being killed by foolish folks, not realizing that our future generations will get wiped out if we don’t save them today.
So our sanctuary became a talk of the woods amongst these creatures. And once they were happy, we were blessed with returns. Each year, birds and monkeys plant more saplings than humanly possible. They will just eat a neem or a Cranberry and many other plants, digest it and spread the seeds like a seedball on the ground.
The earthworms would keep the soil channels open- a job that would take us millions of nano-JCB machine, something that is still not built.
The bees would pollinate, and also yield tones of honey.
All they tell to me that as their organization head, I have to do more –increase into more area and help their community. I cannot explain to them the greed of other humans, the land laws, the consumption factory. But they keep me awake.
Our next line of silent workers is the communities living around. They understand the value of the work, and protect the nature and trees from bad eyes. They suddenly realized that all they knew about plants and animals was actually true, but the vested interests’ driven knowledge and campaign made them believe that a GM wheat was a better option than a few trees in their backyard. And what cost it has come to them at?
They want to get involved more, transform their own fields. So that is another huge task that I owe to my team.
Then come our full time human workers – who constantly work in all seasons. Initially, I had thought and told them that it is all about growing and they should not worry about selling, as the world was too short of our products. Over years, my thought has changed. It is all about what we as humans want to be, and what we want to leave to our children when we depart. As human race, we have more responsibility; so children also mean birds, bees, animals, and plants.
The responsibility also means we do not interfere much. I have seen many greedy folks wanting to use GM saplings or water in odd seasons, not trusting the natural cycle.
As a rapidly growing organization, it is a huge task to make sure all newcomers and new contacts and customers understand that.