Parindey: Radha Krishna Reddy
Alivelihood: Vruksha Ayurveda Farming
Region: Chennuru, Nellore District, Andhra Pradesh
“My Family has been involved in agriculture for generations. Until a few decades ago, in our country, most of the families were doing farming or connected to farming. Now, this connection is lost and its impact on our community, culture, food and ecology are grave. There is an urgent need to re-establish the connection between agriculture and the people. When people were connected with land and agriculture, it had a healthy bearing on our cultural sensibilities. I was taught that the food we ate was not to be valued in terms of money, but as a gift from Mother Nature.”
– Radha Krishna
The story of Radha Krishna’s Vruksha Ayurveda Farming began in 2014, when he, a Marine Engineering graduate and ONGC employee, quit his well-paying job. It was not an overnight decision. His long-held dream of becoming an entrepreneur and providing employment to people made him a water pipeline contractor. His family and friends did not welcome his decision to quit ONGC to start a construction firm. He proved all of them wrong by expanding his firm to work in five states and employing hundreds of people. His journey as a contractor earned him name and fame. But he felt tired of what he was doing. It felt like he was running hard in a race, which he realised he did not want to win. He decided to go back to his village and take care of his farm.
Radha Krishna had a good network in cities and hospitals, and most relatives and friends used to stay with his family during hospital visits, he would accompany them sometimes. Hospitals were always full of patients, even infants are affected with cancer and neurological problems and hormonal imbalances. In his life, he has seen many of his friends and their families suffer from these chronic diseases and who lost their people even after spending huge amounts of money. Despite a wait for many years, Radha Krishna and his wife Gayatri Reddy could not have children because of infertility issues that persisted.. They had visited every doctor, every temple, and tried many treatments for years. In this process, they both became anaemic, and exhausted both mentally and physically. The moment they found Gayatri’s health was deteriorating, they decided enough was enough and told themselves it's okay not to have kids. He learned about the toxicity of harmful chemicals in food and milk on human health. It alarmed him to see how humans pollute ourselves and the environment. He wished to provide his people with safe food.
Radha Krishna Reddy is from Chennuru village of Nellore district, Andhra Pradesh. After he decided to go back and settle in his village and grow healthy food, he started exploring healthy ways of growing food. Radha Krishna approached his guru Bharaatinanda Saraswatiee from Maharashtra(who was his go-to person and mentor) in all of his major life decisions. Radha has visited and learned this method from the different ashrams in Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh. He volunteered in different places and trained himself to come and practice on his own farm.
Vruksha Ayurveda is an Indian traditional science of plant life that focuses on producing high-quality yields from healthy plants for use as food and medicine. The physiology and pathology of plant life, identical to that of animal and human life, are clearly defined based on the philosophy of the ancient Indian system of panchamahabhuta and its products. This study of plant life has also visualised various parameters for nutrition, disease prevention, diagnosis, and treatment based on the Tridosha (Vata, Pitta, Kapha) philosophy. It is a part of ancient Indian health sciences' health framework (combining plant, animal, and human health) that was created many centuries ago. This method was inspired by the ancient knowledge of saints and rishis. Applying the same sort of nurturing to the plants is the main motto of vruksha ayurvedic method of farming. Radha has visited and learned this method from the different ashrams in Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh. He volunteered in different places and trained himself to come and practice on his own farm.
A huge farm
When he returned to his village, he was welcomed by a 65-acre farm: 22 acres of mango orchard, 20 acres of eucalyptus, and the rest was used to grow rice and fodder for the cows. Though farming was not a novel thing to him, it felt too big to start with. Radha Krishna started with detoxing the soil from chemicals used all these years, by using natural supplements and bio-inputs. For the first three years, he has grown various herbal plants in the field and left them in the soil to strengthen the soil. In 2017, he began his own farm by cultivating rice using Vruksha Ayurveda method. Native cows play a major role in this way of farming. His family has owned a Goshala for generations, he added other native varieties of red, black and white cows. Dung, urine, curd and milk from these cows are mixed with herbs to make bio inputs.
He brought native rare breeds of rice seeds from authentic sources. This rice is rich in antioxidants, zinc, iron and low in glycemic index. He developed more seeds and grew them on his farm and named this rice Swetha Sanjivani. He has had close to a hundred customers using this rice for the last four years and there is a huge positive shift in their health. Now they have converted the entire farm to Vruksha Ayurveda method, where black gram has replaced the eucalyptus. They are also growing fruits like Sapota and Guava. Lakadong Turmeric, a unique turmeric variety grown in the Jaintia Hills of Meghalaya is also grown here. It is well-known for its medicinal properties. They are looking forward to growing all the basic food that a family needs (oils, grains, spices, milk and vegetables) on their farm and sell at affordable prices.
Radha Krishna envisions a nation with healthy communities not depending on pharmacies and hospitals. He wishes to recreate the healthy pattern of growing and consuming food in the world. As the first step to his vision, he wants all farmers to produce food using natural methods and make their families healthier and expand the same to the larger world.
“My journey as a farmer differs totally from my earlier life. I have bought rare and costliest types of seeds and developed them here and sold them to local farmers for affordable prices. The idea is to make all the healthy seeds available across the places. My experiments have positive results on the people who are consuming food grown on our farm. That itself is an immense satisfaction in my life. Now I am happier and more satisfied.”
- Radha Krishna
Radha Krishna can be reached at:firstname.lastname@example.org