About Us

Swayyam works with marginal farmers in rural southwest India through an holistic approach to establish food, fodder and fuelwood security. We support the transition to Organic Farming with improved access to trainings, educational opportunities, processing facilities and markets.

1000 Tree Project

Livelihood Security through Cooperative Farming

Our aim is to prevent these farmers from becoming landless by transforming local landscapes into productive, sustainable systems for improving livelihood and health.

Increase Forest Cover and Restore Biodiversity

We work to revive Traditional Polyculture Farming and reduce stress on the fragile Forest Ecosystem through a program of Afforestation and Ecological Conservation

Reclaim Abandoned Farmlands

Our priority is to see farmers come together to reduce risks and costs through a sharing of resources, collective actions, engagement in barter and local exchanges of surplus.

Trees Planted
Acres Covered
Farmer Families Impacted
0 M lts
Rain Water Harvest/Year

Help us in this long journey


  • Among the various initiatives that we are supporting as Rainmatter Foundation, the idea of farming collectives, the type we are supporting Malvikaa and Swayyam to create is what I am most excited about. Getting marginal farmers together to benefit from economies of scale, nudge them towards more sustainable forms of agriculture, enable reverse migration to villages, and more. This can not only help create livelihoods but maybe also help in a small way towards the climate change crisis.

    Nithin Kamath
    Founder, Zerodha, Rainmatter Foundation
  • I was volunteering at Swayyam in December 2018 for two weeks. For me, the girl from the other part of the world ,called Slovakia, it was the biggest adventure in my life. Living there, in the middle of the nature, sleeping in the bamboo house just above the stable with the cow and her calf, eating the food which we were harvesting there, hearing the leopards and the most impressive watching the wild elephants walking around the farm! I will never forget the time I spent there!

    Julia Konkolova
    Volunteer, Slovakia
  • I have followed Malvikaa’s work since she set up Swayyam. Open Shell farm holds many lessons in sustainability, inclusiveness, and for life itself.

    Her respect for local knowledge and her ability to reach, engage and illustrate has won the trust of the village. Thus began the 1000 tree project.

    Malvikaa’s work is a community wide initiative with the power to change many lives. She deserves support from everyone who believes in her cause. I am grateful to be one of them.

    Uma Shashikant
    Individual Donor
  • Malvikaa is a multitasker with an array of personal and professional permaculture design projects that she tackles with a tenacity that would leave any normal person exhausted. Collaborated with her to offer Introduction to Permaculture courses at the Open Shell Farm which fits in with her larger vision to make the farm a centre for learning. As an education centre, her aim is to encourage more collaboration among the rural and the urban population alike

    Madhu Reddy
    Aiyor Bai
  • My stay at Swayyam in 2018 was hugely informative for me as I progressed further into food systems advocacy, policy, and scientific research. Anyone who is even slightly curious about permaculture, agroforestry, biodiversity conservation, or human-wildlife conflict should make an effort to stay here. Quite simply, the farm is a fun, educational, and (of course) delicious place to spend your days in a rural corner of South India. Malvikaa herself is a kind, generous host, with so much knowledge to share—her home and library inspire envy even today.

    Erik Rieger
    Volunteer, USA
  • There are few people who will walk away from a comfortable and assured life to start a project of hope on a piece of denuded land. But Malvikaa Solanki and her small group of supporters at Swayyam have done just this. They have created a small paradise out of their barren land and are now assisting others in accomplishing the same. We are honored from America to lend our modest support to this heart-warming and important project in rural India.

    Becky & Bill Wilson
    Midwest Permaculture
  • I have deep respect and admiration for Swayyam’s dedicated work in inspiring local farmers; and working with them to regenerate the ecological foundations of holistic sustainable, agriculture.
    The third project Swayyam has undertaken to support farmers in transitioning to tree based organic agriculture is a commendable, vital step. … All the best for the wonderful work you are doing!

    Bharat Mansanta
    Founder, Vanvadi


  • Super delighted to announce our new family member - Gowri’s 4th now. Gowri came to us in 2017 and in four years she’s given birth to 4 amazing male calves. She’s a native Amrutmahal breed and she came from our neighbouring village.. These calves will be trained to plough once they reach that age. We used the big tractors to plough for the 1st two years and now we plough with our mini tractor and bullocks only (shallowLow till systems) What do we name this fully brown fella? His older brothers are Ganpa and Gopa.
  • When we say cheers with mushrooms that we find on our farm.. Over the last 8 years we’ve put back a good deal of organic matter, mainly woody matter to get a robust fungal activity during our monsoons.. Bhagya our rowdy rock star with Malvikaa  #wildeedibles #soilhealth #permacultureinaction #regenerativefarming
  • Reclaiming abandoned farmlands using Climate Resilient Regenerative Practices – one collective a time.62 acres of degraded land of over 16 farmer families have been reclaimed so far. Sharing some glimpses of the planting from Aug 29, 2021.The process started in 2017 and its taken these many years to educate, collaborate and build the trust and respect in the community. From now on, it is going to roll.Many thanks to the village youth, the farmers and their lovely families who came dressed in all colours and cooked some amazing breakfast for us all, and to our most amazing team who worked through the rains and rough weather on the ground untiringly.Here are some of the strategies we employ• extensive water harvesting earthworks that can prevent soil erosion and nutrient runoff and improve water infiltration• fencing to prevent overgrazing and wildlife conflict• collective of farmers – a coming together to restore the system of shared labour, knowledge, tools, and other resource that has been lost owing to the proliferation of nuclear families, land fragmentation and migration to the cities• planting of diverse species of fruit, fodder, timber along with support species to increase tree cover and enhance biodiversity, create habitat, provide food, fodder and livelihood security to the farmers also reducing the stress on the fragile forest ecosystems• Planting of keystone ficus species- Banyan (Ficus bengalensis), Peepal (Ficus religiosa), Country fig, (Ficus racemosa), Mysore Fig, (Ficus drupaceae), Java fig, (Ficus virens) on all farmers lands to ensure a greater ecosystem regeneration• caring for the system for 3 years to ensure the success of the design and enable the processes that follow by creating value added products, capacity building and market linkages through trainings and active facilitation• an inclusive design approach where farmers participate in every step of the design & implementation (it’s not easy, never easy to get all of them on the same page, but that is where lies the hope to succeed & co-create productive landscapes)@rainmatterorg @1000treeproject #regenerativeagroforestry #socialpermaculture #permacultureinaction
  • Framed! Sun loved and lovingly creased. Pic credit: @rao_sailaja
  • Farmer-teach farmer models - one sure thing to build capacities is to empower local folks to engage in the design and the implementation of it. While we have our farmers who somewhere see the potential of the work and join our team on site we are also training our local teams along with them to extend this knowledge. Harish in all his cuteness trying to see without winking (closing his one eye with his hand). We’re marking the earthworks for 2nd phase of Suvarna Collective comprising of 20 acres and 5 farmers. Nagaraju getting the stakes ready for marking the contour points, Sailaja our volunteer with the sweetest smile helping with the training and Madesh running to hammer the pegs and me behind the camera heaving a sigh of relief for not having to do all this myself..#1000treeproject #farmerslife #socialpermaculture #permacultureindia #permacultureinaction #practicalpermaculture #regenerativedesign #waterharvestingearthworks
  • Transforming landscapes – one farmer at a time; one new story every time; more new learnings every new time.Swayyam started its work in the Yelachatti village with the @1000treeproject  in 2016. Over 80% of the livestock died of starvation following the drought of 2016. The few that survived were sold off at a pittance to the butchers. The project was conceived as a proposition to ensure food, fodder and livelihood security for the small land holders whose lands were abandoned for over decades now. Wild-life conflict, erratic weather patterns, high input costs, topsoil losses, deforestation, lack of able-bodied men to farm, fragmented land-holdings, plummeting water tables, the list can go on, have all contributed to the downward spiral of degeneration. Living among these fellow farmers for 8 years now have surely given us deeper insights into their struggles and gaps in the system. Our work with the community stems from this space of experience and co-habitation. We planted 1000 trees in Vasudha, our first collective of 4 farmers with 12 acres of land, in July 2020. Our second collective Suvarna comprises of 12 farmers on 50 acres of land. 1000treeproject is a comprehensive strategy that uses agroecology and permaculture principles to regenerate the degraded landscape. After a thorough study of the land along with its geographical, ecological, social, economic and cultural connections we along with the farmers arrive at a plan. It is an inclusive approach that ensures the sustenance of the project. We discuss the needs of each farmer and collectively work on the steps needed to heal the landscape. It begins with fencing the land to prevent wild-life conflict and overgrazing and installing water harvesting earthworks to contain the erosion. A detailed planting plan is designed that includes trees that enhance biodiversity, create habitat, infiltrate water while offering food, fodder, fuelwood, timber, medicine and income to the farmers, thus reducing the stress on the adjacent forest ecosystems.We are grateful for the many supporters and for Rainmatter Foundation @rainmatterorg for supporting the first 100 acres. Pic credits @teepoifilms @heleeum_
  • Finally, the red passion fruit! @openshellfarm
  • Building Resilient Local Communities - is our Vision. Water harvesting earthworks - training local people and stakeholders and building capacities within. We believe that the small farmers whom we’re working with, despite being illiterates (well most of them) are way more educated and much more aware of how nature works. That is the foundation to their connectedness to the land.  The monetisation and globalisation have led to skewed valuation of what needs to be done with the land that has led to large scale degradation of natural resources threatening the existence of humankind. Here are our farmers from the 1000treeproject- Nagaiah, Karthick (studying Law) and son of Nataraj, Subbaiah a local mason, son of Lakshmaiah, Dhanush, grandson of Lakshmaih, Nagaraju and our very own team of boys Harisha and Maadu, implementing the design. They don’t even need me anymore except for the design. They are learning by doing and it’s getting real serious! :-)We’ll be planting 10,000 saplings this season on over 50 acres of land on these water harvesting systems - Agroforestry systems that will  provide  food, fodder, timber, medicine, firewood and livelihood security to these farmers while drastically reducing grazing and firewood pressure on the adjacent forests.  #localresilience #communityfarming #agroforestry #catchwhereitfalls #rainwaterharvesting #permacultureindia #permacultureinaction #ecologicalregeneration #socialpermaculture