Starting a farm?? ...LOL!

Everyone in the family agreed that getting fresh, 'synthetic pesticide and fertilizer free' vegetables is something that is worth pursuing - this is a often discussed topic. We could either go for a small vegetable garden for home use or a commercial vegetable garden.

But what stood between our idea and harvesting fresh organically grown vegetables were only a few basic things like water source, electricity to pump water, a caretaker, a place for the caretaker to live, and things of that nature. That sounded like a lot of work. Uh...extrapolating from the time it took me to repair the fence, it may be few decades before we make our first harvest, if at all we get to that. However, if we are going to get all these things setup, then it would make sense to go for a commercial farm.

I started to talk with friends and family about the idea. People that I spoke to initially cautioned me on the difficulties of venturing into farming. This is, of course, after they laughed out loud at the idea of using an urban land for farming. They were wondering why anyone, with a sane mind, think of farming instead of developing the land for real estate?


The main thing they were cautioning me on was the difficulty of finding farm labor.. that too in an urban area and ability to continue in the long run, etc.

It was a bit disappointing for me as I already started day dreaming - like in a Rajinikanth song sequence - everything will workout fine and I will be marching around purposefully with few sidekicks carrying fresh produce (சிங்கம் ஒன்று புறப்பட்டதே .... ) ..silly me :(

It's Possible

We were a bit down with all those discouraging facts and the investment needed. My father was still encouraging me to take up the idea in a small scale and proceed. Even to get a small scale kitchen garden, we need to get the water, electricity and other things. So I was quite lost on all the activities that needs to go along and what to do next. I had a full time job of running a tech startup. As the job pressure increased this idea was moved to the back burner. But, the farm idea kept crossing my mind often and I wished situation was a bit different.

This is the time around when my wife's maternal uncle visited us. He is a well known and respected farmer in the Pollachi area. He is closely associated with Tamil Nadu Agricultural University in Coimbatore and very very passionate about agriculture and scientific farming. I have always enjoyed conversing with him on farming related topics as well as other social topics of mutual interest...such as the evils of food waste, corruption, etc.

He already knows my interest in working with health foods specifically minor millets. This time I mentioned to him our idea for the farm and also the dilemma - I requested him to visit the land and give us his advise. He spoke encouragingly about the idea of an organic vegetable garden and promised to visit the land during his next trip to Coimbatore.

He kept his promise in couple of weeks and we swung by the land. We had to pull down the barbed fence wire aside to make way into the land as we hadn't put up a gate yet at that time. He was tripped by a wire ..but being a an active person, he was able to recover well without falling hard. Still got a scratch on his palm and blood was oozing out. My wife and I were worried and felt very bad - we  wanted to get him some first aid quickly. But he wanted to look at the land before getting first aid. The reason I bring up this incident is to highlight his dedication in helping and encouraging people who are interested in farming.

After meeting and listening to his encouraging words, we got our confidence back. He acknowledged that getting farm labor is a challenge but its manageable. He promised to help us with his knowledge in farming as well as connecting us with the right people in the scientific and farming community who deal with vegetable and organic farming. During those talks, an action plan was drawn. The first thing to do is to dig a borewell for water source - because all our plans depend on us finding water in the land.