Organic Farming
60.4K views | +49 today
Scooped by Giri Kumar
onto Organic Farming!

Bio-intensive in Banepa | On Saturday | :: The Kathmandu Post ::

Bio-intensive in Banepa | On Saturday | :: The Kathmandu Post :: | Organic Farming |
Online News of Nepal,Comprehensive information about Nepal on the Internet, hotels, rafting, biking, jungle safari, adventure, accommodations, resorts, lodging, tours, travel, wildlife and mountain expeditions.


Recently, I attended a ‘bio-intensive’ farming training in Banepa along with a mix of other urban and rural participants. Bio-intensive farming is a system of organic agriculture originally developed by a group of Californian environmentalists and academics during the 1970s, now practiced around the world. Its proponents argue that it is a viable, sustainable alternative to chemical-based commercial agriculture in Nepal that offers improvements upon traditional organic methods. The content of the training was interesting, but so were the participants themselves—particularly the divide evident between the urbanites (mostly well-off Newar businesspeople) and a few experienced farmers from rural parts of Kavre. The experience made me think about general differences in the outlooks of the two groups regarding farming, a pertinent topic as more and more middle- and upper-class urban people become involved in agriculture, either as hobby or business venture.

The training was conducted by staff from the Everything Organic Nursery (EVON), a centre for bio-intensive agriculture in Patlekhet, near Dhulikhel. The nursery and farm was founded in 2010 by Judith Chase and Jim Danisch, an American couple who first came to Nepal over 35 years ago and have been involved in local organic agriculture for almost as long. It is a commercial operation but also receives funding from a small NGO, the dZi Foundation, to test bio-intensive techniques against other methods in side-by-side trials, help local organic farmers market products, and conduct trainings such as the one I attended.  

Like many organic farms, EVON uses a variety of home-made organic pest and disease treatments, as well as a technique they call ‘kiraa ko tirimiri’—confusing pests by growing different kinds of plants in the same bed. But the foundation of the bio-intensive method is its unique method of deep soil-building. ‘Double-digging’ involves digging up 60 cm of soil from a bed and then refilling it with successive layers of dry leaves, fresh leaves, subsoil, ash, mustard cake, and, in the top layer, topsoil and manure. Digging deep allows plant roots to penetrate further and benefits soil micro-organisms, while the organic amendments provide nutrients as they slowly decompose, essentially making compost in situ. This produces high-yielding crops, but also requires more labour than traditional methods, as well as significant volumes of plant material, which is often in demand as animal fodder.  In order to better adapt double-digging to Nepali farmers’ constraints, EVON developed ‘Nepali bio-intensive’ and ‘sheet composting’ bed preparations, which use less plant biomass and require digging up only 10 or 30 cm of soil. In trials with mizuna (Japanese mustard), potatoes, and corn, the new methods out-performed double-digging and produced almost twice as much as a traditional organic control. EVON now offers instruction on double-digging, Nepali bio-intensive, and sheet-composting.

The training in Banepa was organised by a group of friends, mostly businessmen in their 30s, who make up an informal group called the Banepa Batabaran Samrakshan Abhiyan Samuha (Banepa Environment Protection Campaign Group).  The Samuha has organised several campaigns over the past decade, including one to plant trees along the Arniko Highway and another with Kathmandu University students to manage plastic waste. Members Nawa Raj Shakya, Sudeep Bhochhibhoya and Rasil Palanchoke explained their interest in organic gardening in terms of health benefits, saving money, and reducing Nepal’s food-dependence on India. While many urbanites in Banepa already grow spices like peppers, garlic, and coriander, the Samuha members hope to boost organic vegetable gardening in open spaces and rooftops, which was why they invited EVON to give the training.

The training itself was conducted by EVON’s extension agent, Roshan Shrestha, and field manager, Binod Puri. Shrestha is 27 and holds an MSc in biotechnology, a field that he admits is often at odds with his current work. He recently established Kavre’s first plant tissue culture laboratory with friends in his home town, Nala. Puri is older, and worked for many years as a gardener for resorts in Dhulikhel. He is a very talented horticulturalist and tree-grafter. While Shrestha is fond of talking in terms of soil chemistry and Latin names, Puri likes to slip in more practical tips on digging beds and brewing organic pesticides.  

The first day of the training was a theoretical session, hosted by Rasil Palanchoke in his flat on the top floor of his family’s Banepa Plaza. Discussion was dominated by a couple of the more experienced farmers who probed the trainers with technical questions. On the second day, Shrestha led participants in preparing a Nepali bio-intensive bed in an empty lot. The young men from the Samuha were enthusiastic but inexperienced in using kodalos, so the experienced farmers showed them how to dig and flick the soil away properly. Bikash Tamang, a young farmer and student from Phakucha village, working at a slow but steady pace, outdid everyone. Later, we went up to the Plaza’s roof to prepare soil in Styrofoam containers. Palanchoke had bought them from fish sellers and painted them red, blue, green and yellow to match his prayer flags; he said he hoped to set an example by making gardening seem stylish.  

As we finished, I asked participants what they thought of the bio-intensive method. Most urban people seemed very enthusiastic, saying they planned to try it at home. The experienced farmers were also positive, but more guarded in their optimism.  When I asked Shree Bahadur Tamang, a farmer and sociology student, what he thought, he said that he didn’t know yet—he’d have to try it and see the results for himself.  

The experience made me think about general differences in the outlooks of rural farmers compared to wealthier urban people. There seems to be a tendency among the latter to believe that farming can be easy, that there are lots of simple innovations farmers can adopt to improve productivity as well as sustainability, and that it is just lack of awareness or complacency that holds them back. But if you talk to farmers (including urbanites who have farming experience), they are often more cautious about innovation. The usefulness of ‘improved techniques’ varies according to each farmer’s unique situation, and depends on labour and land available, local climate and soil conditions, and connections to markets, among other factors. As Jim Danisch of EVON remarked, there is no “one-size fits all solution” in farming.  Moreover, as was apparent during the training’s practical session, success in farming depends as much on technical knowledge as it does on one’s ability to use one’s body efficiently and in a manner so as not to injure or tire oneself out in the field—no easy feat.  

The training also left me thinking about the roles of rural versus urban residents in creating the environmental problems to which bio-intensive farming and environmental campaigns like those of the Samuha are responses. After all, urban demand for cheap food is responsible for chemical dependency in agriculture, while urban sprawl eats up fields and forests, and consumerism in cities causes pollution. It is important that the Samuha is setting an example in organic agriculture, tree-planting, and waste management. But shouldn’t all wealthy urban consumers consider it our responsibility to alleviate some of the problems we have caused?  I thought about this at the end of the training as we had snacks and tea and listened to Palanchoke, a professional musician, play a beautiful rendition of Sarangi Retaunla Mauka Mile Pheri Bhetaunla.


Gill is an American agroforester who grew up in Kathmandu. He studied South Asian history and forestry

No comment yet.
Organic Farming
The growing trend in Organic Farming
Curated by Giri Kumar
Your new post is loading...
Your new post is loading...
Scooped by Giri Kumar!

Sanatana Pages: Organic farming and the centrality of the cow

Sanatana Pages: Organic farming and the centrality of the cow | Organic Farming |

Subhash Palekar Raises Agriculture to Spiritual Levels

For over sixty years, Indian agriculture was in a slumber. Our lands were scandalized by an unknown thing called as synthetic fertlizer. This was done to help the farmer get a 'better' harvest.

As the farmer started using it, he immediately noticed that, his soil had become infertile and could no longer bear crops for the next season. He was advised to add more and more fertilizer to the soil to compensate for the nutrient loss. Soon he was faced with another threat. The plants that grew with fertilizer needed pesticides. Soon, he started using these pesticides, which are deadly poisons. He noticed that the pests had become resistant to these chemicals as time went by. He was puzzled.

Our farmer forgot the ancient lesson that the soil HAD LIFE. He forgot that there were natural laws that governed the soil which his ancestors had obeyed from time immemorial. By thus obeying the laws , they had taken bumper harvests and had kept the land well cared for and transferred the land intact for posterity.

Subhash Palekar

It was at this time that a great mind set out to work in this field. He himself was a graduate of Agricultural science from a 'modern university'. He set out to work in his field using the British devised ways of Fertlisers and Pesticides and became an utter failure. He also ruined his land.

Then he set out to research on how our ancestors did so well in Agriculture without any of these chemicals. He consulted the Vedas, and the ancient wisdom literature. The result is a revolutionary, path breaking method, which Sri Subhash calls as 'Zero Budget Natural Farming'. Sri Subhash tried his method in his own soil and replicated it in various other fields tasting success every time.

An inspired Sri Subhash set out to teach this method to his countrymen. He has so far conducted not less than 1000 workshops, all heavily attended, to spread this new way of life for farmers.

The fundamental concept in Sri Subhash's work is that
1. Soil does not need nutrients to be added.
2. The soil has micro organisms which GENERATE NUTRIENTS for the soil.
3. It is possible to revive a fertliser damaged soil back to the natural ways.
4. That the new method require no money to do Agriculture.

Fascinating, is it not ? Read on for some more.

Sri Subhash says the pivot of 'Zero Budget Natural Farming' is the desi cow. He says that the desi cow's Urine, Cow dung and Milk have all the qualities required to rejuvenate the soil. Just ONE desi cow, says Sri Subhash, is all that is required to maintain a 30 acre Farm. He laments that the Desi- Jersi hybrid cows are of no use in his scheme of things.

What a sad thing ? The desi (country) cow is now has such a dwindling population that we need to revive them on a war footing. I wondered why the hybrid Jersi cow is unfit. A publication of 'Govardan', a voluntary organisation for Cow protection, says that the high yield Jersi was produced by crossing a wild pig and an Australian cow breed !

Sri Subhash has some formulas to revive the soil. One is 'Jeevamrutam'. This is not a replacement for Fertlizer , he says. Jeevamrutam is only a catalyst for the soil to generate its nutrients. He says that the 'organic manure','earthworm manure' are fads and are another recipe for disaster.

Sri Subhash condemns the university taught concept of burning the leftover plants after harvest. He says that these are to be left over in the soil itself by turning them over into the soil. This process of 'Mulching' helps the soil prepare its own manure.

And what about pests ? Subhash maintains that a naturally grown plant fights pests. But the plants in transit in chemical ravaged field can be protected by simply prepared 'natural pesticides' which arwe usually buttermilk, pepper and such simple combinations.

The Government Sponsored Chemical Mafia

A govermental survey states that the fertliser subsidy alone was abot Rs 13,000.00 crores in the year 2000. Add to this the pesticide subsidy and the farmer's burden. A report says that the pesticide business in India is the fourth largest in the world! Imagine what would have happened if the money is spent on raising desi cows, strengthening ponds and lakes, and protecting the village fiorests !

There are some criminal agricultural scientists who sit and lord over every governmental commission on Agriculture. These are the very people who are in hand in glove with the synthetic mafia and have been the cause of so much decline in production. Sri Subhash has alleged that our country imports foodgrains of about 5 million tonnes every year. This fact is not known to many Indians. The governments cheats here also.

Recently, a central minister went on record stating that poor Indians are eating more and this is causing problems. It is no wonder with such people at the helm, our Agriculture remains without policy.

Osk Reddy's curator insight, August 24, 2014 1:00 AM

We wish to bring to your notice that the "Green Universe Environmental Services Society (GUESS)" head-quartered at Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India was established in 1998. Since then we have been promoting various eco friendly concepts, pro-environmental initiatives and sustainable development projects. With our vast field-level practical experiences we have observed and noticed that the farmers of our country are facing severe crop loss issues due to wild boar & wild animal attacks, frequent natural calamities, global warming effects, non availability of labour, cost escalation and climate change issues. It is known fact that many of the wild animals have shifted their habitations from the forests to farm fields due to man-made mistakes such as severe deforestation and high level destruction in the forest areas. 


Due to the above situations the farmers who make 70% of the Indian community are leaving agriculture and migrating to the urban habitations in search of livelihoods resulting in many of the villages are becoming deserts and the population pressure is at high level in urban areas which is causing various social & economic issues. It is fact that the most of the countries are shifting towards naturals in all walks of life and the demand for natural products is ever increasing and it is time to throw light on promotion of different eco-friendly sustainable farming measures & concepts to the struggling farmer community.


Keeping in view the alarming situation faced by the farming community due to wild boar & animal attacks which is great concern to the society today we have come up with an eco-friendly, cost-effective sustainable solution of "Henna Bio Fence." It is non-grazing & pest-free because it is astringent & pungent in nature which can be an effective NPM measure, sustains for longer period hence it is perennial, drought tolerant because it can pass through severe climatic situations, creates additional man days through raising & post harvest measures and also generates income because the demand for natural dyes is ever increasing. Hence "Henna Bio Fence" can be an eco-friendly cost-effective sustainable solution in place of highly expensive solar, chain linked mesh & barbed wire fences and can act as income & employment generating measure.


Natural dyes are pro-environment and obtained from renewable resources with no health hazards are traditionally used since ages to impart color. There is renewed interest in the application of natural dyes throughout the world today, as eco-friendly norms become stringent and the awareness about protection and preservation of environment grows day by day. The entire world is facing the side effects of synthetic products and there has been increasing interest in natural dyes, as the public become aware of health issues, ecological and environmental problems related to the use of synthetic dyes. Henna as natural dye is being used in Textiles, Handlooms, Leather, Beauty & Health Care, Cosmetics and Tattoo Industries etc. 


Considering the above facts, concerns and in light of the multi beneficial advantages, as responsible NGO we have initiated this "Henna Bio Fence" project to help the struggling farmers. We request for financial collaboration to impart trainings, to create awareness, to transform the concept and to provide input cost to encourage an eco-friendly, sustainable and cost effective "Henna Bio Fence" to the farmers to protect the crops from wild boar & animal attacks and to improve their income levels. In addition to the crop protection measure there is lot of scope for employment generation through value addition and marketing. 


Henna Bio Fence is also useful as NPM, NTFP, SMC & NRM measures. The Decoction of henna leaves because of its strong chemical composition can be used as Bio Pesticide for all the crops which reduces the pest management expenditure for a longer period. It also controls the cross pollination (Isolation) issues between different crops. Henna Bio Fence in one meter width all along the periphery of the crop fields in multiple (6-9) rows with close spacing will become as thick & strong fence which completely arrests the wild boar and animal attacks. Reducing crop loss itself is great benefit to the farmers and as well to the nation and also there are many social & economic advantages in addition to the crop protection measure. 


Keeping in view the above facts, we request the International Organizations who are very much concern about environment & global warming effects for financial contributions from Carbon Trade Funds, Environment Protection Funds, Ecological Balancing Funds, Global Warming Budgets, CSR & CER initiatives to provide them an eco-friendly, sustainable and cost effective "Henna Bio Fence" for their farm fields to protect the crops from animal attacks and to improve the income levels of the farming community. Hence, we request your kind attention towards a noble cause of "Vruksho Rakshathi Rakshithaha" by providing them the input cost from different possible funds & measures to help the struggling farmers who are feeding our Nation. The detailed project report will be submitted after hearing from you. We await quick response in this regard to make this pro-environmental project successful. We are hereby providing the YouTube link of promo film on Henna Bio Fence for information.


Henna Bio Fence Video Link:


GUESS - Henna Bio Fence - English  :


GUESS - Henna Bio Fence - Telugu  :


Thanking You



Best Regards




Ph. No. 919494947894 / 919848028410 /

Web Site:



Eric Larson's curator insight, March 27, 1:18 PM

Interesting questions!!!

Brandon Chesney's curator insight, May 27, 8:25 AM

This farmer in India had been using synthetic fertilizer to grow his crops. Because he used this he noticed that the soil became Infertile and he couldn't grow new crops for the next season. Since he could not grow anymore crops he started using more and more fertilizers which in turn led to having to use Pesticides. He had forgot the whole kind of law set in place about how the soil has life and was better than any other fertilizers or pesticides.

Suggested by Slavko Todorovic!

Aqua Farming: New But Best Culture of Producing Organic Foods - Organic food shoppers

Aqua Farming: New But Best Culture of Producing Organic Foods - Organic food shoppers | Organic Farming |
Aqua Farming is newly developed system of food production. Of total consumption of shrimps in the USA, 90 percent come from aqua farming.
No comment yet.
Rescooped by Giri Kumar from Educational Resources!

The Food List: Biodynamics

The Food List: Biodynamics | Organic Farming |
There are farmers who believe that working with nature is better than working against it. These farmers are simply unconventional.
Scooped by Giri Kumar!

Sustainable charcoal: Is that possible?

Sustainable charcoal: Is that possible? | Organic Farming |
  Originally posted on The #Forests 2015 Blog “For many persons the concept of charcoal and sustainability is a contradiction. However we have been able to develop a method to do just that” sa...
Scooped by Giri Kumar!

I Ditched My Business-School Plans to Become a Farmer

I Ditched My Business-School Plans to Become a Farmer | Organic Farming |
"All I really remember now about my first season was that my back hurt for the first month, but I loved every second of what I was doing."
Eric Larson's curator insight, August 26, 12:21 PM

Good idea?

Marianne Naughton's curator insight, August 27, 8:33 AM

Changing from business to farming ...

Scooped by Giri Kumar!

Co.Exist | ideas + impact

Co.Exist | ideas + impact | Organic Farming |
News, infographics, and videos about the future of energy, electric cars, the environment, and food on


No comment yet.
Scooped by Giri Kumar!

As biodiversity declines on corn farms, pest problems grow

As biodiversity declines on corn farms, pest problems grow | Organic Farming |
Continued use of pesticides will lower diversity of beneficial insects, costing corn farmers more money over time.

Continued use of pesticides will lower diversity of beneficial insects, costing corn farmers more money over time.

Scooped by Giri Kumar!

Filter Rainwater in a Barrel for Drinking

Filter Rainwater in a Barrel for Drinking | Organic Farming |
Rain barrels are everywhere these days, and while they are great for providing water for your lawn or garden, what about drinking water? This plan for a carbon filter was pulled from a 100 year old homesteading handbook.
Scooped by Giri Kumar!

Home - OnFarm

Home - OnFarm | Organic Farming |
Giri Kumar's insight:

 This site has been posted for those who would like to incorporate technology in their day to day farming.

No comment yet.
Scooped by Giri Kumar!

How will technology change farming?

How will technology change farming? | Organic Farming |
Billions in startup investment are driving a new wave of "Ag 3.0" innovations that could make farms more productive, efficient, and responsible.
No comment yet.
Scooped by Giri Kumar!

Fertilizer Facts

Fertilizer Facts | Organic Farming |
What exactly is fertilizer? And, why do plants benefit from it? Fertilizer is simply a material added to soils or directly to plant tissues that contains nutrients essential to the growth and health of the plant. Usually, this means Phosphorous, Nitrogen, and... #agriculture #compost #farm
Eric Larson's curator insight, August 5, 11:33 AM

Fertilizers are significant.

Scooped by Giri Kumar!

Fertilizer companies will not allow meaningful action in agriculture during COP 21: report

Fertilizer companies will not allow meaningful action in agriculture during COP 21: report | Organic Farming |
The report says the role of fertilizers in contributing to climate change has been severely misunderstood
No comment yet.
Scooped by Giri Kumar!

Why your tree planting isn't helping the Philippine environment

Why your tree planting isn't helping the Philippine environment | Organic Farming |
Planning to join a tree planting event? Hold up, you might be doing more harm than good.
No comment yet.
Scooped by Giri Kumar!

Kyabram dairy farmer Simon and Jo Doolan bat above their average

Kyabram dairy farmer Simon and Jo Doolan bat above their average | Organic Farming |
GET bigger or get out has become the reluctant adage for small and medium-sized farmers around Australia.
No comment yet.
Scooped by Giri Kumar!

Microbes Will Feed the World, or Why Real Farmers Grow Soil, Not Crops - Modern Farmer

Microbes Will Feed the World, or Why Real Farmers Grow Soil, Not Crops - Modern Farmer | Organic Farming |
It's not just better crops that will feed the world -- it's better microbes.
SustainOurEarth's curator insight, August 26, 6:01 PM

add your insight ...

Hannah Goble's curator insight, September 2, 12:57 PM

This article tells of the production of soil in the organic farming. Helping to better grow organic foods and make them healthier than before in previous farming methods. 


Microbes Will Feed the World,

Scooped by Giri Kumar!

Why shade-grown coffee is good for birds and farmers

Why shade-grown coffee is good for birds and farmers | Organic Farming |
What kind of coffee you buy matters a lot to birds — key indicators of biodiversity in the tropics which likely provide many environmental and economic services.
No comment yet.
Scooped by Giri Kumar!

5 Ways to Put Your Chickens to Work For You

5 Ways to Put Your Chickens to Work For You | Organic Farming |
Egg layers in and of themselves are a great addition to any homestead, large or small. And is there anything better than fresh eggs? But what if, in addition to the eggs, your chickens could provide an extra hand (or foot, as it were) in your gardening efforts? Taking advantage of their natural...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Giri Kumar!

▶ Chicken Tunnel Man - YouTube Bruce Morgan is into making his chickens do the work around the house using a series of wire tunnels.


No comment yet.
Scooped by Giri Kumar!

Organic Farming on One Acre or Less

Organic Farming on One Acre or Less | Organic Farming |
Organic farming is possible even with a small piece of land.
Scooped by Giri Kumar!

A Response to Slate Magazine on GMOs & Biotech - Tyrant Farms

A Response to Slate Magazine on GMOs & Biotech - Tyrant Farms | Organic Farming |
Slate Magazine's article about GMOs & biotech says there is no difference between organic and conventional agriculture (or food). We respectfully disagree.
No comment yet.