Pune: 10,000 Farmers Gather To Celebrate Success of Natural Farming At Art Of Living's Farmer’s Meet

Pune: 10,000 Farmers Gather To Celebrate Success of Natural Farming At Art Of Living's Farmer’s Meet

They expressed their gratitude for the positive changes and abundance in their lives brought about by The Art of Living's work for the farmers of Maharashtra.

Gunwanti ParasteUpdated: Thursday, February 08, 2024, 08:17 PM IST
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Pune: 10,000 Farmers Gather To Celebrate Success of Natural Farming At Art Of Living's Farmer’s Meet |

In a historic gathering, 10,000 farmers came together to celebrate the success of natural farming and express their gratitude towards Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar for Art of Living’s impact in Pune.

On February, in Pune, The Art of Living’s Farmer’s Meet witnessed a historic gathering of 10,000 farmers and 500 sarpanches and heads of villages. They expressed their gratitude for the positive changes and abundance in their lives brought about by The Art of Living's work for the farmers of Maharashtra.

More than 10,000 tribal farmers around Chhatrapati Sambhajinagar District, Maharashtra, have been trained in natural farming and sustainable agriculture, making them self-reliant. The project gained recognition on Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Mann Ki Baat show. Global spiritual leader and humanitarian, Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, expressed urgency in resolving the issue of farmer suicides in the state.

"We have to stop farmer suicides. We have 500 sarpanches present here. I request you to make sure not a single farmer should be depressed in your village. I appeal to the Government of Maharashtra also to take this forward - that farmer suicides will not be allowed to happen anymore. Our volunteers will work with you for this. If you see even one farmer is sad or stressed, stop and talk to them. Ask them what is bothering them. We should tell farmers, if you want to give your lives, give your lives towards the nation’s welfare. This is what Art of Living does - helps clear the mind of the poison of negativity and adds renewed purpose to life,"he added.

Gurudev also appealed to village heads and parents to ensure youth and children stay away from addictions and alcohol. He pointed out that if the farmer is unhappy, the consumer of the food he produces will not be healthy either. "We need to raise waves of devotion and happiness like there were during the times of Sant Tukaram and Namdev," he added.

In its efforts to bring about holistic rural development in the state, The Art of Living is implementing natural farming, training thousands of farmers in more than 1.3 million hectares in Maharashtra under a recently signed MOU with the Government of Maharashtra. They are also facilitating a direct market for their produce, eliminating the middleman, resulting in increased profit margins. The Kisan Basket, launched at the event, allows consumers to connect directly with farmers by subscribing to produce baskets.

Farmers speak up

The benefits of natural farming are manifold. Kishor Thorat, a farmer from Maharashtra, shared, "With Gurudev's inspiration, I have been practicing natural farming for the last seven years. With mixed cropping, now I determine the rate of the fruits and vegetables I grow naturally. In 1 acre of land, I am growing 28 types of fruits and 40 types of vegetables. I am earning profits around Rs. 7 lakh a year."

Another farmer trained in natural farming, Dattatray Dumar from Dhumalvadi village, Faltan, is selling the fruits he grows all over India, Dubai, and the UK. Since they are all organic produce, no money is wasted on chemical fertilizers.

Popular Marathi actor and environmental activist Sayaji Shinde, present at the event, shared, "Today in Gurudev’s presence I have experienced how work happens successfully when we work with a positive mindset." He encouraged everyone to plant at least 500 trees, saying, "only trees deserve celebrity status."

Sarpanch of Hiwre Bazar Popat Rao Pawar spoke about the need to keep the soil healthy. He said chemical-free farming alone can ensure our future generations stay healthy. "If we want the Ram Rajya we had in Treta Yug, then we will need to implement the vision of Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and take natural farming everywhere."

The Art of Living Social Projects & Govt of Maharashtra-MNREGA signed an MOU taking the JalTara project forward. Under Art of Living's JalTara project, 45,500 Jaltara recharge structures have been constructed in 115 villages in just 2 years, benefiting lakhs of people. JalTara recharge structures are 4x4x6 recharge structures filled with sand, gravel, and rocks so water flows, percolates, and recharges groundwater, preventing flooding, reducing erosion, maintaining nutrition in the soil, and protecting the crops of the farmers. Water tables have improved by 14 feet on average; farmer incomes have increased by over 120% on average, and crop yields have improved by over 42%.

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