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.
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.
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!
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.
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
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.
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.
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!