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Agriculture and greenery are a way of life for this State awardee

The best young woman farmer has nurtured over 5,000 trees on her Vasu Jaivanganam campus at Haripad

By the side of the busy National Highway 66 at Narakathara, near Haripad, is the Vasu Jaivanganam campus.

Spread over 4.5 acres, it is a self-sustaining farmland that is home to over 5,000 trees, including forest and fruit-bearing species, a wide variety of vegetables, medicinal and ornamental plants, among others.

Force

The force behind this lush greenery is Vani V. and husband V.C. Vijith.

Vani’s efforts in agriculture have landed her this year’s Yuvakarshaka (best young woman farmer) State award of the Department of Agriculture.

Vani’s passion for conservation and organic farming springs from the time of her attending classes of environmentalists and reading.

Plant saplings

“During my childhood, I used to plant saplings on birthdays. Although my father was a businessman, agriculture had a place in our family. When I joined Kerala Agricultural University to study BSc Agriculture, it only reinforced my love for farming,” she says.

“After graduating from the university, I joined Pondicherry University to pursue MSc in Ecology and Environmental Sciences, but I had to discontinue the course after my father fell ill. It was a big turning point. I returned home and started to collect seeds and saplings and nurture plants. Our place once again started to brim with activity and it strengthened my relationship with parents,” she says.

After her marriage to Vijith, who she knew from the days when they used to attend environment camps, the duo took farming to a whole new level.

Organic farming

They say that the thought of sustainable production of vegetables led to organic farming.

Today, apart from growing vegetables, they are also into poultry farming, cattle rearing, fish farming, vertical garden, plant nurseries, and making value-added products.

To market the produce, the duo joined a few other farmers in the region and started an eco-shop.

As a culture

Vani says that farming is a culture that needs to be preserved and promoted in its true sense.

“Agriculture without giving due consideration to the environment will not survive,” she says.

As a model farm, the Vasu Jaivaganam campus has sacred groves, nine ponds and receives winged visitors in large numbers.

The family depends largely on solar power to meet the electricity needs and biogas plants for domestic cooking.

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