Issue No. 310, May 2015
The Challenges of Farming in Auroville
Jeff has been managing Discipline Farm for the past 23 years. He is also a coordinator of the Auroville Farm Group. Here he talks about the particularity of Auroville farming, the challenges facing our farmers and how they can be overcome. Is farming in Auroville different from farming in the rest of the bioregion? The obvious difference is that we are organic, which immediately sets us apart from many of our neighbours who use pesticides etc. as a matter of course. In this area, the traditional crops were millets, peanuts and some rain-fed rice. In the early days, our farmers grew what they could. This included millets like ragi, cumbu, tennai and red rice. Few of our farmers had any previous farming experience, so they learned from the local farmers and by trial and error. The millets are grown much less in Auroville now, partly because the rains seem less reliable and partly because there is no market for them. Many of our farmers grow veget...