Set up by Charlie in 1975, Aurogreen (AG) is one of the oldest farms in Auroville (AV). Located in the northeastern greenbelt of Auroville, it covers 35 acres of land which includes 2 acres of irrigated land with the remaining being dryland fruit orchards. Presently managed by Charlie and Shanmugam, the produce includes fruits, vegetables and dairy products from cow milk. AG is uniquely a farm and a forest intertwined. Previously what was included in the farmland is now slowly being turned into dry-land orchards and forest due to stress on the water table.
Focus on Water Conservation
Charlie arrived in AV in 1970 when the entire region was dry barren land. After scouting for land with the intention of setting up a farm for providing food for AV, the present land of AG was purchased and the farm was established in 1975. In the early years, Charlie relied heavily on borewells to irrigate his crops. Over the years he has observed the underground water levels drop significantly. Today, he is increasingly voicing out that the Auroville land is not suitable for high irrigation farming due to very low water levels. Where previously water was available by digging the ground at 40-50 m below the surface, today the water levels have gone below 100m in some areas. Charlie has thus begun reducing the farm activity at AG. Speaking for increased water conservation efforts, he feels it is imperative that farmers across AV limit their farming activity to produce low-water consuming varieties such as millets, dryland crops, and vegetables.
Vegetables such as tomato, cluster beans, brinjal and leafy greens are cultivated seasonally. Additionally, fruits such as papaya, pineapple, sapota, jackfruit, mango, lemon, lime and pomelo are cultivated. Cashews are also harvested from the dryland orchards.
According to Charlie, the water has to be used sustainably especially as farming consumes enormous amounts of water. Aurogreen being in a water-stressed area, it does not make much ecological sense to pump water from deep under the earth. Charlie has resorted to growing and maintaining dryland orchards to adjust to this reality. Timber is also being cultivated in some areas.
The farm also has a small herd of cows, the milk of which is processed into artisanal cheeses much appreciated by the community. Charlie also dries fruits such as Jackfruits and Chicoos which are distributed to the community when the fresh fruits are out of season. The farm output is mainly supplied to foodlink distribution centre of Auroville from where it is distributed to the community.
Having crossed the age of 70, Charlie is looking for the next generation of stewards to take over the daily operations of the farm. Training facilities and housing for this needs to be put in place.
The farm is also looking out for volunteers to help with the farming activities. Being a strong believer in sustainability, Charlie is keen to have energy-efficient equipment and also improve irrigation technology by installing solar pumps and drip irrigation equipment.
Aurogreen welcomes dedicated volunteers. Please get in touch with Charlie and Shanmugam through details below.
Phone: +91 413 2622927
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Pazhamudir CholaiOrganic Fruits of Labour at AurovilleLocated by Auroville main road near Edayanchavady village, Pazhamudir Cholai, a 5-Acre Farm, is led by Renuka, her sister Lakshmi and their mainly women team. With a vision of creating an organic fruit orchard, the stewards of the farm offer their experiences of having grown up in their ancestral farmland. Gradually the scope of the farm shifted to orchards and dairy to enable sustainability while generating awareness and educating local women and children on the benefits of organic farming.
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