(Rice plantation workshop using heirloom seeds)
The tribal community of Veti Murbad, the village that host’s Design Jatra’s office, devotes monsoons entirely to farming. Everyone is expected to return to the village for farming rice, no matter what one has been doing or where one has been during the year. With the village youth returning back from toiling in the cities, it is now the time for rice farming!
We at Design Jatra have our own share of revelry and respite during the monsoons. All our construction sites shut after working hard during the summer and we focus on farming as well. Rather than a means for producing food, farming for us is an opportunity to get the community together. Taking advantage of the village’s inflated demographic, especially in terms of the returning youth, it is a chance to introduce sustainable practices back to the village.
(Right and bottom–Introducing a new plantation system, called SRI)
Realizing the socio-cultural importance of rice, we decided to start a seed conservation program for it. Farmers today, especially from the tribal community, cannot afford to farm rice because of the huge market dependencies on seeds, fertilizers, tools and sometimes even labour. All these were available freely in the pre-industrial era – heirloom seeds were passed from one generation to other, tools were made in the village itself, fertilizers came from livestock and labour came from sweat equity of the village. By intervening in the seed-saving process, we hope to reestablish all these systems. (More details in the seed bank page)
(Seed testing for the seed bank)