The Auroville Farm
Group serves the Auroville community
by growing healthy produce in direct response
to its needs -
involving and informing the community residents
in the process.
The AVFG wants to help to improve on food quality
and increase the production of healthy food,
the environment by farming ecologically.
Auroville Farm Group
The Auroville Farm Group (AVFG) coordinates the
planning of fourteen Auroville (AV) farms that aim at producing natural
and healthy food. As of today, the farms cover some 400 acres of cultivated
land, managed by 35 Auroville residents. The farms employ about 200
full-time workers from surrounding villages.
All farmers work with some
combination of orchards, crop fields, vegetable gardens and/or dairy.
They study the relationship between traditional farming and modern
agriculture, using eco-friendly technologies such as: windmills (water),
solar energy, drip irrigation, micro sprinklers and methane gas collectors.
farmer can work in his own field of interest, taking into consideration
the quality of the soil, the availability of water, and the investment
potential. The AVFG coordinates their productions to meet the Auroville
Some farmers work on related interests, such as: seed
banks, providing education to local and foreign students, or introducing
vegetables and fruits from other tropical countries; some do food processing.
The aim to grow food for AV was initially based on acquiring large
landholding and making big investments. But over the years the quality
of some of the purchased land proved poor - if not poisoned by previous
spraying - and needed long term rehabilitation. There also has been
(and still is) much intrusion by outsiders with herds of cows or goats,
breaking fences and damaging whole crops.
Short AVFG history
Though over time the AVFG
farms have received moderate funds, it is hard to compete with subsidised
farming in India . Besides, there is the risk of crop failures. The growing
season from December to March is short and both summer and the monsoon
seasons can be severe and unpredictable.
In later years, it was found that
few coming to Auroville were either knowledgeable or interested in running
farms. Though the present farms are well equipped by now, more farmers
and funds are needed in the future, to take care of available land.
recent report on the AVFG shows that at this moment in time the AVFG has
to work on unifying the efforts of the farmers, to channel productions, work
on food processing, marketing and distribution.
Final investments will be needed to set agriculture in Auroville on
its own feet, with the packaging and distribution of produce that are
qualified organic, in accordance with Indian National standards.
Meanwhile, a lot has been learned by the pioneering ‘down to earth'
farmers that is well worth sharing with students and experts. Much,
also, asks to be set up with the help of experts and advanced students.
This makes the start of the second, unifying, phase of farming in Auroville
a practical and unique experience for students and voluntary workers.
See also: History of
Distribution and marketing
The AVFG has an office and distribution centre
called Foodlink. The products are sold through a number of Auroville
shops and (in the future) also beyond AV. Rice and vegetables are provided
for meals in the communal Solar Kitchen and for distribution among
schools. Fruits and grains are preserved and packed at two Auroville
food-processing units and at some of the farms, which produce a range
of jams, pickles and chutneys.
The AVFG secretariat gathers statistics
on the basis of monthly production. A recent report on the AVFG (2004)
shows that distribution and central management of farming in Auroville
will need funding and support, so that the individual effort of the
farmers may bear fruit. At present, for instance, parts of surplus
harvests are lost, due to lack of a common storage and marketing outlets.
The Auroville Farm Group Assessment
Word Documents 1.19 Mb
Research and outreach
Agricultural experiments within the AVFG
include many different methods, such as bio dynamics and permaculture.
These are combined with technologies for eco-friendly use of water
and electricity. Ongoing studies are: mixed systems and agro-ecosystem
farming, green manures and intercropping, natural biodiversity and
microclimates, agro-forestry, collection of seeds of traditional
varieties, water harvesting, organic pest control, hygienic animal
husbandry, solar & wind power, energy saving tools
for tillage, and mulch farming.
The AVFG maintains close ties with the
Auroville Forest Group. Together they promote sustainable cultivation,
which increases the diversity of crops and plantations. By creating
micro-climatic regions, biodiversity is served by planning indigenous
flora and creating reservations for wildlife.
Education – study and work opportunities
‘Auroville Farm Group' - farms have, as such,
no prescribed ongoing courses available. Students and volunteers
are invited to participate in the work, thus helping farmers to find
time for sharing their knowledge. On the farms, the student is asked
to work for a certain amount of hours per day. Some farmers ask commitment
in the duration of stay.
Over the last five years it proved financially
impossible to systematically supply students and volunteers with free
food and accommodation; but for serious students various means of study
and accommodation can be made available.
There is much work to be done
to organise the farmers around a future central management and distribution
The AVFG fundraisers and researchers are ready to explore this
move from care for the land to care for collection and distribution.
Student and expert helpers, as well as funds, will be needed so that
what has been built up may grow into an enterprise that does justice
to Mother's ideas for the AV community and to that community in its
For more information about learning opportunities
in the AVFG:
Contact: David Storey: firstname.lastname@example.org after
reading the job page.
See also: Study/work
If you have only a few days to visit:
Contact: email@example.com ;
Tel: daily/morning: 2 622107 (Office, at: Solar Kitchen).
For non-farm guesthouse bookings,
contact: firstname.lastname@example.org (2622704).