Sustainable Agriculture, Forest and Land
The SAFAL program aims to revitalize organic agricultural production and traditional knowledge. Green Revolution technology in Himachal Pradesh is largely characterized by hybrid seeds, and synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. Initially, the use of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers saw an exciting increase in production levels. With 70% of Himachal Pradesh relying on agriculture as their primary livelihood, the potential to increase incomes and promote food security was enticing. However, in recent years, farmers have begun reporting concerns over poor soil quality, changes in their vegetables’ resistance to disease, and most recently, the lack of adaptability in the face of increasingly erratic weather patterns. New technologies and harsh pesticides have jeopardized the environment that many farmers rely on for food. Continuing, these pesticides cause many diseases and often have adverse side effects that farmers are unaware of. Essentially, the pesticides aid short term crop health but over time, they damage the environment, making it hard for villagers to grow crops.
To stop this issue, SAFAL works with 80 farmer groups throughout Kangra valley. We help farmers receive information on agricultural subsidies, distribution of seeds, and traditional seed preservation. We also organize a variety of demonstration events on organic practices such as making vermi-compost pits or various bio-pesticides. These pesticides are much more safe for the environment and the farmers.
We at SAFAL strive to help farmers understand the importance of their work and produce, their ability to act autonomously using natural growing methods, and to develop a local agriculture system based on organic growing methods with an eye on long term ecological sustainability. We believe that by working with farmers to increase their agricultural skillset and knowledge, we are building a more adaptable and sustainable local food system that allows families to meet their nutritional needs while living in harmony with their surrounding ecology.
We operate a small, all-natural supply chain, GreenLeaf, which connects farmers in our “all-natural” farmer collective with a local consumer market. By purchasing produce at market price, typically 30-70% more per than farmers otherwise receive, GreenLeaf strives to incentivize the production of organic produce and ease the transition from synthetic based agriculture to organic growing methods.
Lastly, we work primarily with female farmers. Many female farmers are overlooked despite their irreplaceable work. By working closely with female farmers, we help women claim their identity as farmers and recognize their invaluable contributions to the local economy and their family’s self-sufficiency.