Madhuri and her

experience as volunteer

I came to Annapurna April 2020, right at the beginning of lock down; to understand agriculture on a larger scale. There were various topics (dairy – water – data) that I was keen to observe and be involved in, mainly how one integrates regenerative and sustainability (ecological) on a large piece of land. Annapurna was a perfect match as I was looking for a farm that is data driven and well organised in its functionality. 

Rice, to be honest, wasn’t the very first subject that I thought I would take interest in but the fact that 20 acres of paddy grown on rain harvested water definitely fascinated me specially in AV bio region where monsoons are short rather than minimal. Soon after Tomas introduced me to Gerard Oomen, soil scientist and friend of Annapurna/Tomas; I guess since then there was no looking back. I spent a large part of my time here – irrigating paddy, understanding rice physiology, collecting data-dissecting plants in various stages from the seedling to harvest and theorizing about methods/techniques that would make rice productive with its yields and so cost effective. I cannot thank Tomas and Oomen enough for introducing rice (such an academic and well researched plant) and sharing their knowledge with me and supporting me throughout the process. One years data is not enough to solve the problem with Annapurna paddy but I did help us understand seasonal transition of traditional varieties and newer options of improved rices. 

Now I move back to my home, to farm within Bombay bio region; while most people run away from the cities I want to share my knowledge to create ethical and sustainable food systems for the city that I grew up in. Rice study would continue up north and I am looking forward to exchange notes with Tomas. 

I am surely going to miss Annapurna, 135 acres of landscape with beautiful fields, Jolanda and the whole herd of cows, Anna, Serena, Heba (the dogs) and chess nights with Andre. I would definitely would love to visit back, it felt like home; hope it always be. 

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