With Open Shell Farm, we began our work in year 2014 on the ecological regeneration of a small piece of barren and degraded land located next to the Bandipur Tiger Reserve in the hills of the Western Ghats. The site is located close to a village which in an idyllic location with overlooking mountains. The sight of cowherds and shepherds driving their animals to the nearby forests, the curious village children, the intermittent bus service, the temples and the village life is something to experience.
Today Open Shell Farm is a demonstration & an education site for social transformation through Regenerative Design using Permaculture principles that works towards creating harmonious relationships that already exist in nature.
Open Shell is functioning farm, producing more than 70% of its food needs, including 100% of its edible oil and staples such as finger millet, little millet, fox tail millet, sorghum, maize. Oilseeds – peanuts, sesame, niger, sunflower, castor. Lentils and pulses – black gram, pigeon pea, cow pea, peas, lab lab, horsegram. Spices – turmeric, mustard. Others – onions, garlic, ginger and variety of fruits and vegetables.With the exception of our bore well pump we primarily use solar and wind energy and have structures built with mostly natural and local materials using local skill and labor. We are striving to return 5 acres of land, which was completely bare rock and subsoil, to a productive balance using age-old wisdoms combined with modern techniques. We are taking a long-term and holistic approach to restoring the land and hope to improve farming conditions for our neighbouring farmers.
What started as an open land has become host to over 5000 saplings of more than 400 species of forest, fodder, timber, medicine, and fruit trees. Open Shell Farm is a buzzing food forest with many voluntary species of trees, grasses, bushes and wild edibles along with a multitude of earthworms, termites, bees, insects, reptiles, butterflies and other life forms.
The project elaborates on methods of applying permaculture principles is restoring the fertility of land by preventing soil erosion, water run-off, overgrazing, burning, and use of chemicals, followed with restoration of native vegetation that was. This is being steered by long-term interns and volunteers along with the team. We would also build capacities through workshops and study in Permaculture and courses that will draw the community into informed collective action.
Simply put – we want to learn by doing and lead by example!
If you connect with this area of our work and want to be involved, contact us and let us know. We will be happy to share our space with you and learn from each other.