Makaibari: Miracles are Simple Solutions | Permaculture is the future of Farming
Makaibari, situated in the misty hills of Kurseong. Spans 670 hectares over six separate ridges. The tea covers 270 hectares, while the woodlands cover twice that area. The tea gardens are placed in between the forests. It's these forest which is the key essence of the magic in Makaibari Tea.
At Makaibari, two hectares of sub-tropical rain forests surround every hectare of tea. They believe the farm as a whole is an organism, therefore should have a close self-nourishing system. The health of the soil, plant and animals depends upon bringing nature into cosmic, creative shaping forces.
The idea of 'modern' farming is actually exhaustive for the land. Modern farming uses nitrogen-rich fertilisers which absorbs nitrogen from the atmosphere but does very little to liven the soil.
These hills are rich in life.
"Human beings only imbalances nature for their own use, and needed science to bolster the equation of their monstrosity. Science, it seemed, desired victory over nature, while conveniently forgetting that the creature that wins against the environment ultimately destroys itself" says, Rajah Banerjee a pioneer of organic farming.
Many years ago, Rajah Banerjee the owner of the estate came across a series of poisoning incidents which led to the death of the local villager and a few big cats. From then he thought that by giving a high dose of chemical fertilisers it kills the thousands of microorganisms in the soil and the chemicals make the soil toxic.
After a month, Rajah decided to try organic manure on a distant slope. When the harvest of that batch was processed it was remarkably better! From then, cows were provided to the workers, and the use of cow manure was incorporated. The first community biogas was installed in Kodobari village. That's how the community cow concept came into being.
The forests were no longer threatened by fossil fuel. Care and maintenance of the cows, as well as biogas units, generated employment. The sale of milk and compost created grassroots entrepreneurs.
Here is how Makaibari works differently:
By placing loppings of vegetables like a blanket on the ground between tea pushes. The mulch takes the impact of the rain and prevents soil erosion. It reduces weed growth but does not kill it. Thus the ground flora is preserved while reducing weeding costs. During a drought the ground cover prevents evaporation of soil moisture, enabling the tea to cope excellently under harsh conditions. Lastly, the decomposition coverts the mulch into a soil that is rich. Mulching is a simple act, but a miracle of soil rejuvenation and conservation.
As Rudolf Steiner, the father of biodynamic agriculture has stated,
if all agricultural practices are truly holistic, then the principal crop will be reflected in mimicry.
Makaibari must have been doing something right when the Tea Deva appeared. It hasn't been seen anywhere before. It's a unique looking insect which mimics the tea leaf. During the spring it's vibrant green and in autumn it has a dried leaf appearance.
The food web works in perfect harmony. All species of animals, reptiles, insects and pests thrive at Makaibari. However, the ecosystem is so finely tuned that there are no alarming expositions.
My experience of Makaibari was magical because in a time where corporate greed seems to be the only goal; it was refreshing to see passionate sustainable farming practices be implemented. I truly believe permaculture is the future.
Healthy Soil...Healthy Mankind.
Happy World Environment Day!
(Please do watch our film, I promise, the beauty will captivate you!)
Luxmi Group owns many gardens, Makaibari is one fo them.
To know more visit their website.
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