Community Intervention for Environment Sustainability

Chemical-free Farming

What did we do?

  • The Art of Living, through the Sri Sri Institute of Agricultural Sciences & Technology trust (SSIAST), has taken up the program of agricultural development that will be economic, sustainable, and eco-friendly
  • The trust has undertaken chemical-free farming (natural farming) and addresses the ideal aspects of soil.
  • Apart from conventional natural farming, the Art of Living has also taken up permaculture – a term defined in reference to the need for a permanent or sustainable system of agriculture.

What did we achieve?

  • SSIAST has trained 1200 Agriculture Teachers on natural farming techniques.
  • SSIAST-recognized Agriculture Teachers periodically conduct natural farming training in different villages in 25 states across India.
  • More than 20,00,000 farmers have adopted natural farming techniques.

Kumudvathi River Rejuvenation

What did we do?

  • Based on the principles of Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM), a comprehensive strategy was developed in consultation with the local community, Panchayat Raj Institutions (PRI), and allied departments to improve the water table in the project area.
  • Laid out boulder checks to slow down the speed of rain water that is flowing down and prevent soil erosion.
  • Planted trees to increase vegetation cover.
  • Dug recharge wells at suitable points based on technical teams' advice.
  • Created awareness among villagers about the ill-effects of planting the wrong types of plant species (which are not suitable to the given agro-climatic zone, such as eucalyptus).
  • Promoted natural farming methods for safe food production.
  • Trained farmers in adopting best practices in soil and water management.

Smokeless Chullahs

What did we do?

  • In many villages, firewood is used as a medium for cooking. Due to the lack of a proper ventilation system, the smoke gets accumulated in the kitchen. Women tend to inhale large quantities of smoke, leading to respiratory problems. The Art of Living volunteers designed 100 special cooking stoves.
  • The double-stove construction allows two cooking operations to take place simultaneously. It also provides a smoke outlet.
  • The improved chullahs use less firewood, which conserves the environment and reduces pollution.

What did we achieve?

  • In Maharashtra – 107 villages covered; 2451 smokeless chullah demonstrations conducted; 1700 families now cook on smokeless chullahs. The significant increase in savings reflects in the living standards of the villagers.
  • In Chhattisgarh – The Raipur center of the SSIAST implemented a pilot project under the Corporate Social Responsibility initiative of the Steel Authority of India, at their steel plant in Bhilai.
  • Around 4500 energy-efficient chullahs manufactured and distributed; savings of upwards of 4000 kg of firewood; 2.5 lakh rupees of rural income saved per annum; 50% reduction in CO2 emissions. Here too, the significant increase in savings reflects in the living standards of the villagers.

Seed to Sapling

What did we do?

  • The objective of this project was to spread environmental awareness among school students, parents, and school staff and move towards a solution for global warming.
  • Created a sapling bank for plantation during the monsoon season. This was achieved through the participation of schools.
  • Introduction as an academic project for the students under Environment Studies.
  • Screening of informative videos for students provided by the Art of Living representative.
  • Selecting a group of 100 students called the “Green Brigade”, who will represent the school for this initiative.
  • The initiative was documented with authentic reports and charts.

What did we achieve?

  • Forty schools with 7000 students participated in the Seed to Sapling program introduced for the age group of 9-14 years.
  • Tied up with e-commerce websites to promote the project as well as to gather sponsorship.

Lakshmitaru Tree Plantation Drive

What did we do?

  • SSIAST motivated and guided volunteers to plant a total of 2,000,000 Lakshmitaru saplings throughout India. The volunteers and Agriculture Teachers of SSIAST took the initiative for this noble project.
  • In the presence of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, SSIAST promoted CDs and books on Lakshmitaru trees. The book describes the plantation process for making a nursery and gives details on the benefits of the Lakshmitaru tree. It is available in Kannada and English.
  • To create a clean, green environment, the volunteers and teachers of the Art of Living are continuing plantation programs in different parts of Chennai city.

What did we achieve?

  • Over 2,000,000 Lakshmitaru saplings planted across India.
  • Around 11,000 saplings were planted along the banks of the Dibru River in Assam, and 4000 saplings were distributed to the nearby villagers.
  • 150,000 saplings were planted in Kerala.

Seed Bank

What did we do?

  • SSIAST took the initiative to preserve the indigenous seeds of different crops by maintaining the Sri Sri Seed Bank. Seed banks enhance farmers’ ability to buffer unsuitable environmental conditions and economic stress by allowing them to plant several crop varieties according to whatever adapts well to a range of environmental conditions.
  • At the same time, seed banks facilitate farmers’ access to markets and give farmers more choice over what they grow. Seed banks enable rural and tribal villages to be less dependent on high-yield varieties and on expensive inputs such as fertilizers and pesticides.
  • Traditionally, women have been in charge of seed preservation, and their knowledge of seeds is extensive. Therefore, women play a major role in the conservation of diversity at the farms. It is women who decide the quantity of seeds and the selection of the varieties to be stored and the various ways of storing them. SSIAST provides training to women farmers too.

What did we achieve?

  • In the Guna district of Madhya Pradesh, SSIAST distributed seeds among 200 farmers in 20 villages.
  • SSIAST distributed different types of vegetable seeds to 250 farmers in Tamil Nadu to form the local indigenous seed bank in October 2013.
  • In 2009, SSIAST distributed 3000 kg of highest quality wheat seeds to the farmers of Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh to form seed banks in their own areas.

Sandalwood Plantation

What did we do?

  • At the Art of Living International Centre in Bangalore, SSIAST arranged the Awareness Program on Sandalwood Plantation for 240 ULFA Naxalite participants who came from 21 districts of Assam.
  • On June 14, 2011, SSIAST organized a one-day workshop called Sandalwood Plantation – the need of hour in collaboration with Harneswar Agro and Harneswar Fruits and Vegetables Sales Co-operative Sangha at Shelgaon Taluka, Maharashtra. Dr. Ramkrishna Muley, Kishore Mukherjee, and Dr. Madhav Pol, trustees of SSIAST, were present along with Balasaheb Kannamwar, Vice-chairman of SSSSKL, and Mahesh Rajwade, Director of SSSSKL.
  • Sri H. S. Ananthapadmnabha elaborately educated all the farmers about the current alarming situation of the Indian sandalwood market and the world-wide scenario of sandalwood cultivation. He also spoke about the marketing scope for Indian farmers.

What did we achieve?

  • Under the guidance of SSIAST, the Naxalites from Assam completed the sandalwood plantation with 27 kg seeds.
  • More than 100 farmers attended the free workshop on sandalwood cultivation.

Published on 3rd June, 2014