From Courts to Empowering an entire Farming Community: The story of Aparna Gopal Raj
The love for nature can be so strong at times, that it entirely changes one’s perspective on life for the greater good. Let us meet one such awe-inspiring lady, who left behind her comfortable life as a lawyer and founded ‘Beejom’; an animal sanctuary and an eco-friendly, sustainable agricultural farm.
A native of Chennai, living in Noida, she graduated from National Law School, Bengaluru. Little did she know that her true story would commence from such humble backgrounds. While looking for boarding for a horse, she halted for a while and sat under a jamun tree. It was there that she fell in love with the soil, and thus she dedicated her life to farming. Thus was born ‘Beejom’ on the floodplains of the river Yamuna in Uttar Pradesh in 2014.
Initially, the land was arid and unsuitable for farming. Some local farmers used to grow some crops, but even they became victims of soil depletion and erratic yield.
Aparna, converted this dry land to what is today, and the key to her success was animal-dung! She collected dung from nearly 106 cattle, and an equal number of bulls, horses, two pigs, a herd of goats, and a few geese and roosters, which was used to make fertilizers for the farm. The internet educated her on producing fertilizers from animal dung, and pesticides from a mix of neem plants and cow urine.
Her efforts paid off, and today the farm has crops such as wheat and ‘toovar daal’, and vegetables like Swiss Chard, kale, maanga inji (mango-ginger), etc. The farm runs on solar power and biogas and uses rainwater harvesting techniques. It has significantly contributed to achieving an eco-friendly sustainable environment.
Aparna hasn’t just stopped at sustainable farming. The land is now home to a myriad of animals and insects, like earthworms, butterflies, bees, nine breeds of cows and other farm animals. All animal products are used to manufacture organic fertilizers and pest-repellents.
Aparna’s envisions a self-reliant and empowered farming community. Simply teaching them organic farming is not enough. They need basic facilities, like education healthcare and proper sanitation. Having said this, she has started a school for the farmer’s children called ‘Beejom Shiksha’, whose benches are also made from farm waste and a free weekly medical clinic, ‘Beejom Arogya’. Apart from this, special training is provided to women-folk for skill development, like tailoring, making newspaper bags etc. They are also trained in natural farming under the project ‘Beejom Samudaay’.
Aparna has exemplified her love for nature, and through her efforts and passion has contributed not only to the environment but also to the farming community and the country as well. She is indeed an inspiration to many.
Also Read: Facebook
Also Read: THE BEAUTY OF INCREDIBLE INDIA