Annapurna Farm Support Group
There are several Aurovilians who, in December 2016, founded the Annapurna Support Group. They are Amy, Anandi, Bindu, Isabelle, Lucas & Tomas, with Otto as an advisor and Carel joining in later. They consider it necessary that more members of the Auroville community should be involved in developing and carrying the farm since Annapurna Farm is an important asset for the Auroville community.
Two special activities have emerged: the creation of the “Annapurna Support Fund” and the publishing of the “Annapurna Newsletter“. This quarterly-annual edited newsletter gives an up-to-date insight into ‘life on, and of, the farm’.
Annapurna is a prosperous farm in the sense that its not functioning on the principle of credit and is a beautiful natural environment, with a long-term and dedicated work force, and a beautiful herd of animals. At times small loans are taken for much needed infrastructure development, but the farm has basically been able to break-even in the last decade or so. If a small profit is generated it is reinvested into the farm operation.
From the beginning Annapurna Farm has given primary importance to regenerating the environment, building a dedicated work force, establishing a reliable infrastructure, breeding a healthy dairy herd and creating a place where individuals have space to explore and grow.
All this is wonderful but not immediately translating into profits in the current reality. All over the world farmers are being strongly encouraged and sometimes even forced to make shortcuts by paying their labor minimum or less wages, neglecting their environment, treating their animals as production means only, and the farmer’s personal development is not valued very much.
Annapurna Farm sees that if it does not create enough financial resources for ongoing investments and developments it will be detrimental in the near and far future. With this in view a few people decided to create the Annapurna Support Fund.
The group share the conviction that healthy food needs more support and investments than what it receives today.
Tomas (one of the current farm stewards) about the Support Group:
Q: Why did you feel the need to start the Support Group?
Tomas: I started this initiative because I think farming should not be determined by farmers alone. I hope with a Support Group the future of the farm will be taking shape more according to the needs of the community. This also means that the responsibility will be more carried by the community and less on the farmer alone thereby connecting farming to the community. And yes, we need more involvement on the practical level, but even on the less direct level, people can very effectively support in fund raising, label design, web work, PR, marketing, packaging, processing and much more. Also the feeling that there is a group of people around the farm who really care is very nurturing and stimulating for a farmer. In general, farms are too isolated because of the nature of the work. Another important reason to get a support group is the need for succession. This will not happen overnight, but we should slowly groom a new team of farmers in the years to come to enable this farm to grow more and better food for the community. I am deeply grateful to all the contributors who felt called by the cause to support this initiative.