Our Activities

The ancient scriptures of India, called the Vedas, describe how our planet is perfectly created to meet the needs of all its denizens; owing that they all live in a spirit of cooperation and interdependence. Unlike the modern anthropocentric models (the belief that human beings are the central or most significant species on the planet), the Vedas present an ecocentric (nature-centered) model of creation where there is natural interrelationship between humans, animals, birds, insects, trees, rivers, mountains and all the other elements of nature. Nature has been craftily designed by incorporating an intrinsic utility in all its elements, there by creating a symbiotic interdependence among them.

For example, the sun’s rays purifies, enlivens and contributes to growth on this planet, while water from rains nurture, cleanse and sustain life on earth. Mountains are sources of minerals and herbs to which medicines and other agents are made. Certain organisms are capable of degenerating matter, like the bacteria, while others enhance it by adding nutrition, for example the worm adds nutrients in the soil in which it is found. By aligning our developmental patterns of modern amenities with this inbuilt symbiosis system, we can ensure a sustainable future. Govardhan Ecovillage is based on this time tested model called the Symbiotic Development Model. By blending the wisdom from traditional practices and the practicality of modern science, GEV showcases a range of activities which form the model for sustainable and eco-friendly development.

GEV SDM

For information about all our activities, download our brochure here

 

Organic Farming

O
rganic Farming is one of the key activities in GEV, around which all the other activities are centered. Food is life! The Vedic system emphasizes how food that we eat is interconnected with our physical being as well as our mental consciousness. Therefore, the purity of the food we eat determines the well being of the society. GEV has a strict policy of 100% chemical free farming there by ensuring the safety of the land, the farmers and the consumers.

For more details about our organic farming please download our case study here.
Some key features are:

  • Research in sustainable chemical free farming practices
  • Promoting various organic farming practices like Crop rotation, Composting, Use of Organic fertilizers & pesticides, Multi cropping, Mulching etc.
  • Vedic rainfall prediction and Lunar plantation techniques
  • Reviving effective but forgotten traditional pest control techniques.
  • Compiled a comprehensive Organic pest management book for local farmers
  • Protecting rare indigenous varieties of rice
  • Creating a seed bank for heirloom seed varieties of vegetables
  • Participation in various seed sharing programs
  • Listed among top 100 agriculture innovators in India for extensive use of permanent raised vegetable beds
  • Chemical free Organic Jaggery manufacturing
  • Rope line method for sapling plantation
 

Animal Care

T
he scriptural tenets of the Vedas hold firm to respecting all forms of life. Upholding this, GEV is working steadily towards setting up exemplary animal care facilities. Cows form the basis of the Vedic sustainability model, for they empower the localized village-economy systems. At Govardhan Eco Village we believe that cow protection is not just about protecting cows from slaughter, but giving them due respect and love. It’s about expressing our gratitude for the wonderful socio-economic gifts that cows have given to human society. The general conception is that a cow only provides milk. However, at GEV we found that there are many-fold benefits which come with maintaining cows, which have brought cost-efficiency in the community. GEV today boasts of a world class cow-barn, setting standards for personal cow care. Extending this spirit of caring for cows, GEV has set up shelters for various animals like dogs, donkeys, goats, sheep and many more. All these animals are well cared for with dietary specifications and medical treatment.

For more details about our Cow care initiatives please download our case study here.
Some key features are:

  • Scientifically proving the indispensable role of Cow in ecology
  • Showing the economic advantages of protecting Cows
  • Proving the advantages of Bull based farming systems over tractors
  • Reviving localized village economic systems
  • Ecological and Economical benefit of Cow dung and urine demonstrated
  • Successful Cottage industry setup, which manufactures various traditional lifestyle products based on Cow dung and urine
 

Green Building

W
ith a view to create buildings that minimized resource consumption & waste generation, in addition to the advantage of reduced ecological impact, GEV began exploring the concept of mud construction. Modern buildings are made from highly processed materials, such as cement, which not only are detrimental to the ecology but also tend to isolate us from nature. Traditional earthen homes are built with locally available materials and reconnect us to the earth, by creating a healing and calming effect. At GEV we employed mud based technologies like Compressed Stabilized Earth Block (CSEB), Cob and Rammed earth built structures that have less than 1% embodied energy compared to conventional buildings.

For more details Green Buildings please download our case-study here.

GEV followed the green standards as per the Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment (GRIHA) norms and complied to the following criterion:

  • Preserve and protect the landscape during construction
  • Proper topsoil laying, stabilization of the soil, and maintenance of adequate fertility of the soil
  • Reduce air pollution during construction
  • Reduce landscape water requirement
  • Reduce building water use by applying low-flow fixtures
  • Optimize building design to reduce the conventional energy demand
  • Optimize the energy performance of the building within specified comfort limits
  • Renewable energy utilization
  • Renewable-energy-based water heating system
  • Waste-water treatment using SBT
  • Water recycle and reuse
  • Reduction in waste during construction
  • Resource recovery from waste
  • Minimize ozone-depleting substances
  • Minimize the disruption of the natural ecosystem
  • Meet minimum allowable luminous efficacy
  • Minimize road and pedestrian length by appropriate planning
  • To protect the health of construction workers and prevent pollution.
  • Reduce volume, weight, and time of construction by adopting an efficient technology
  • Use low-energy material in the interiors

Some key features of the Construction Process are:

  • Zoning – A thorough planning prior to construction
  • Protecting existing ecology – Fences around the important ecology
  • Smart Sourcing – To reduce the overall carbon foot print
  • Zoned Construction – Not allowed to spread all throughout the campus
  • Mud is the essence – Simple, Natural Mud was the key constituent of the construction material. Foundation was of stone masonry with stabilized mud mortar & concrete short poles (as bond stone)
  • Earthquake resistance – Conforming to the BIS norms (earthquake proofing methods to protect).
  • CSEB Bricks – Lesser amount of energy is consumed in preparation against modern day fired bricks
  • Assembled Arches – Saves cost on RCC, Saves cost on plastering ceiling with cement, Saves waste & More strength and stability.
  • Natural Insulation – A sloped roof with double layer of Mangalore tiles with an air gap between the two. It ensures that the temperature inside the room is moderate as compared to outside.
 

Water Conservation

W
ater plays a major role in any agricultural or farming based activity. In India, groundwater levels have fallen as much as 70 meters or more over the past 30 years. Assessments by the Central Groundwater Board, Government of India, show a dramatic change in share of tube wells in irrigated areas – from a mere 1% in 1960-61 to 40% in 2006-07. Efficient water conservation is therefore a natural step towards sustainability with respect to water resources. The goal at GEV was to create a system which could help us attain our goal without disturbing the existing ecology while keeping cost feasibility in mind. Therefore we undertook a hydro-geological survey of the entire ecovillage to identify suitable recharge and discharge points. A recharge point is the ideal location to build rain water harvesting units to recharge the underground aquifers. A discharge point is the ideal location to draw underground water through open wells and bore-wells. The entire process involved the following steps:

1
Hydro-geological mapping – Geology is the most important factor that governs storage and movement of water in the subsurface. These factors were studied in this survey.

2
Employing geophysical techniques – Resistivity surveys were conducted at different locations within GEV plot to identify the depths to water bearing layers underground.

3
Water Level monitoring of wells in the area – Measuring static water levels is important to ascertain the groundwater movement direction in the area.

4
Aquifer test – A pumping test was conducted to evaluate the properties of the basaltic aquifer in the area, helping us understand the quantity of groundwater in the area.

5
Analysis of collected data – All the data collected in the field was systematically analyzed to obtain specific information regarding the aquifer and the hydro-geological regime in the area.

For more details about the entire process please download our case-study here.

 

Alternative Energy

T
he consumption of non-renewable sources of energy has caused more environmental damage than any other single human activity in the last century. Over dependence on fossil fuels such as coal and crude oil, which have been used for electricity generation, etc., has led to high concentrations of harmful gases in the atmosphere; the detrimental effects  of which are seen today as global warming and climate change. And with fast depleting oil reserves, an energy crisis seems imminent.

At Govardhan Ecovillage we have taken a step in the positive direction by adopting various rural specific alternative sources, there by minimizing our effective carbon footprint. Exhibiting the blessings of mother cow in tackling the energy crisis, GEV has successfully demonstrated a 30 cubic meter model biogas plant, which runs on cow dung and other food wastes. The gas produced from this plant is directly used as a fuel for cooking minimizing our need for Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG). GEV also houses a 30kVA solar power plant and many stand alone solar powered street lights which minimizes its dependence on fossil fuel based power sources. GEV also houses various animal driven prime movers (ADPMs) which utilize animal power and form an excellent alternative for common electro-mechanical devices. GEV currently houses a bull driven water pump, bull driven grass cutting machine and various bullock carts used for transportation. The bulls are worked in turns, engaging them on alternate days, thus harnessing useful clean power and also ensuring the wellbeing and quality care of the animals.

For more details about the various alternative energy sources please download our case-study here.

 

Soil Biotechnology

T
he growing population of India’s cities are placing a huge strain on the country’s resources, especially water. Efficient management of resources are prime to counter this problem, nevertheless it seems to be a perpetual problem. The World Bank estimates that 21% of communicable diseases in India are related to unsafe water, most of which are contaminated either by sewage or agricultural run-off. At GEV water contamination due to agricultural run-off is tackled by a strict zero chemical policy for farming. Water contamination due to sewage is a major concern which results in various water born diseases like diarrhea. According to a World Health Organization (WHO) report, in India diarrhea alone causes more than 1,600 deaths daily. So safe disposal and treatment of waste water is the crucial need of the day.

Demonstrating a revolutionary technique in waste water treatment, the Soil Biotechnology (SBT) plant at GEV is a chemical free alternative for sewage treatment. SBT system consists of an impervious containment and incorporates soil, formulated granular filter media and a select culture of macro organisms such as earthworms and plants. It involves a combination of physical and biological process for processing of waste water and it derives its fundamental principle from the functioning of a terrestrial ecosystem. Patented by IIT Bombay, the SBT process by design, integrates with the natural bio-geochemical cycles of nature and hence proves to be most effective eco-friendly technology for waste water treatment. The SBT plant at GEV processes up to 30,000 liters of sewage every day recycling up to 10 million liters of water annually.

For more details about soil biotechnology please download our case-study here.

 

Waste Management

F
or the first time in the history of humankind, urbanization has increased at such a massive pace, that more than half the world’s population today lives in towns and cities. By 2030 this number is expected to swell to almost 5 billion, with urban growth concentrated in Africa and Asia. This essentially means an undue overload on the urban infrastructure which have not been designed for such inflated numbers. And one of the key areas that will be badly hit are waste management systems. According to a US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) report waste management is going to be one of the planet’s biggest concerns in decades to come.

Current waste management techniques like landfills and incinerators, were devised decades ago when the population density was relatively low. With rising population and steep rise in the volume of waste generated, conventional techniques are proving to be ineffective and ecologically disastrous. In spite of the glaring ecological hazards posed by these techniques, they continue to prevail especially in third world nations. Separate segregation and recycling of waste, though a highly effective solution, is not being taken up on a wide-scale due to various technical and financial challenges they pose.

GEV has formulated and demonstrated an award winning technique called “Symbiotic Recycling”, which harnesses nature’s inbuilt mechanism to utilize waste material from one particular process as a raw material for another process. In other words, what comes from nature in one form goes back to its proper place in nature in a different form after being processed and used.

For more details about the various waste management techniques employed at GEV, please download our case-study here.

 

Rural Empowerment

Background

Thane is one of the northern districts of the Konkan region in Maharashtra. The Sahyadhri hills surround it on the east and the Arab sea on the west, with dense forest of Gujarat on the north and India’s business capital Mumbai on the south.

The Wadi Program – a Holistic Development Program for Rural & Tribal communities – started in the Wada block of the Thane District, a poverty-stricken area located on the northern part, where there are high illiteracy and migration problems. The program began helping approximately 500 tribal families over a six-year period.

Working with BAIF-MITTRA, the project started in April 2009, initially with five families in one of the tribal villages near GEV. Today the project stretches to six villages – Ghore, Ghuir, Galtre, Hamrapur, Nane, and Sange – in the Wada block located around the Eco Village.
 

Objectives

The overall objective was to improve the impoverished tribal families’ standard of living through a holistic and self-enabling approach. We helped the tribal families to develop productive assets such as a ‘Wadi’ (an integrated farming system comprising of horticulture, agriculture, and dairy) or other non-farming enterprises such as provisional stores to help them earn a sustainable livelihood over the long term.
 

  • A quick baseline survey was conducted in the selected villages. The survey found that most of the tribal families were marginal farmers (that is, cultivating land up to 2.5 hectares) and without land of their own. GEV began generating awareness by regular village meetings, which helped us to understand the views of the families and their level of agricultural expertise. This was followed by exposure visits to other successful farmers that helped them to get a first-hand experience of how they could develop.
  • The core methodology was an agro-horti-forestry approach. This meant the tribal families growing one or more species of fruit trees, with food grains, vegetables, and flowers in the spaces between the fruit trees. Along the boundary of the plots a large number of multi-purpose trees were planted. While the grains, vegetables, and flowers fetch short-term income, the fruit trees are expected to provide assured income every year in the future.

    The multi-purpose trees planted met various demands, such supplying domestic fuel. This integrated approach ensures a sustainable source of income and also improves family health by their increased consumption of the fruits and vegetables grown. Supporting the agro-horti-forestry, some villagers are also trained in soil and water conservation, water resource development, organic farming, and sericulture or silk farming.

  • There are more than 150 families participating in this program today – all of them involved in soil conservation and organic farming. In 2014, more than 35 training sessions and 20 educational film shows were conducted.

    The maximum income a farmer earned was INR50,400, with an average income for all the farmers being INR7000. Those families without land were supported by setting up sewing machines, grocery shops, snack centers, carpentry and stationary outlets and so on, with monthly incomes ranging from INR1500–9000.

 

Rural Education

T
he Lady Northcote Hindu Orphanage (LNHO), was setup in Mumbai in 1905 to give shelter to famine affected children. In 2005 LNHO was shifted to GEV to provide a serene atmosphere for the children. Catering to the underprivileged kids in the Wada region of Maharashtra, LNHO today houses over 50 children who are emotionally, socially and spiritually nourished as well as helped to draw out their inherent talents, thus forging a better future. At LNHO, we are actively researching for better teaching techniques that make learning interactive and fun. With a special emphasis on physical training, the students are trained in yoga and many traditional Indian games like kabaddi, khokho and wrestling. With the focus being on rural kids, there is special vocational training program which empowers students with skills like painting, carpentry, farming, animal care, tailoring etc., which they can take up as a profession later on.

For more information about LNHO please download our case study here.

 

Global Outreach

I
t is the aim of GEV to not only develop in self, but also to create a model which can be replicated in scale across the globe. We started with an outreach to our immediate neighboring farmers and tribes, who have gradually acknowledged the benefits of farming, over migration to urban areas for jobs. Next, we began attracting different stratum of people from the urban areas, to give them the experience of this rural setup. In this way, we can be contributors to green development by sharing our know-how. There is a saying that the taste of pudding is in the eating. We aim to inspire the youths to think green, deepen ties with educational institutes for joint researches, convince corporate bodies about inclusive growth and in this, make allies in sustainability on a global level.

GEV hosts visits from various quarters of the society including school children, corporates, Eco-enthusiasts, spiritual seekers and many more.

For details please download our case study here.

To know more about visiting GEV, please click here.

 

Arts, Handicrafts & Ayurveda

I
ndia is a land of rich culture that varies across its length and breadth.  And much of its ancient heritage is preserved in the villages. With rural migration and changing cultural patterns much of the rich tradition of India is slowly vanishing. With a view to preserve this timeless heritage, GEV is preserving and patronizing various traditional art forms like Warli paintings, pottery, hand-looms,handicrafts etc. GEV also has a team of artisits who promote this traditional lifestyle through music and drama. Beginning with just 50 villages, GEV hopes to expand its activities in the entire state of Maharashtra.

Show casing the utility of cows and the power of Ayurveda, GEV also manufactures a whole range of lifestyle products which include :

Anrag powder

  • A 100% chemical free bathing powder
  • Effective against dandruff and other skin diseases
  • Works as a bleaching agent and toner face pack
  • Provides relief from bad odor and makes skin softer

Tooth Powder

  • 100% natural powder to protects teeth and gums
  • Keeps mouth fresh
  • Gives protection from all oral diseases

Balm

  • For relief of muscular aches, sprains and headaches
  • Also effective for itching and insect bites

Ghanvati

  • Health tablets made from Cow Urine
  • For relief from mental stress, skin diseases, liver
  • Problems, high blood pressure, bronchitis and cough

Pacanamrita

  • Effective for acidity, gastric troubles, indigestion & stomach aches

Hair Shampoo

  • Non-foaming chemical free shampoo
  • Eliminates dandruff
  • Prevents hair-loss and graying of hair
  • Gives a cool refreshing effect
  • Distilled cow urine
  • Increases the resistance of the body
  • Increases the life span & purifies the blood
  • Restores balance of the three-doshas
  • Reduces fat

Incense sticks

  • Soothing chemical free natural fragrance
  • Drives away mosquitoes
  • Used for pujas

Cow-dung-patties

  • Used for Yajnas and other fire sacrifices
  • A natural mosquito-repellent
 

Plant Nursery

S
pread over an area of 2 acres, Govardhan Nursery employs state of the art organic techniques to grow plants that are pure and chemical free. Comprising of shed net areas, a polyhouse, lotus pond etc., the nursery facilitates the growth of over 500 varieties of plants. Govardhan Nursery has a wide range of flora comprising of ornamental plants, flower plants, fruit bearing plants, forest plants and a few medicinal plants. Over 350 varieties of plants are available for sale on large scale.

For details please visit our website www.govardhannursery.com

 

Research & Training

W
ith a view to integrate traditional wisdom with modern practicality into a whole range of eco-friendly sustainable lifestyle solutions, GEV is constantly researching in various fields like:

  • Organic Farming
  • Green Buildings
  • Waste Management
  • Water conservation
  • Animal Care

GEV today offers various courses and has been invited for various conferences on sustainability, waste management, life cycle assessment and water conservation hosted by major industry bodies like the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII). GEV today is an active hub for organic farming training, where the government of Maharashtra has hosted various organic farming training workshops.

Our Organisation

Govardhan Ecovillage is a non-profit initiative founded by H.H. Radhanath Swami, a teacher of bhakti-yoga for over 40 years, and student of His Divine Grace A.C Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, founder-acharya of the International Society for Krishna consciousness.

Govardhan Ecovillage Galtare, Hamrapur (P.O),
Wada (Taluka), Palghar (District) – 421303, Maharashtra, India
contactus@ecovillage.org.in (+91) 916-720-4666 (9AM–6PM).

Testimonials

This is really heaven on earth. Such dedication to convert vision into reality is rarely seen. No doubt this will be a beacon of spiritual life for all of us. May the Lord continue to inspire you to evolve this place into a magical ‘Light House’.
Vivek Vig, Former CEO Citibank

Eco Partners

Serve cows BIOME
Lifelink BAIF
acwadam ARTI

CSR Partners