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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
GEV hosts visits from various quarters of the society including school children, corporates, Eco-enthusiasts, spiritual seekers and many more.
To know more about visiting GEV, please click here.
Arts, Handicrafts & Ayurveda
Show casing the utility of cows and the power of Ayurveda, GEV also manufactures a whole range of lifestyle products which include :
- 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
- 100% natural powder to protects teeth and gums
- Keeps mouth fresh
- Gives protection from all oral diseases
- For relief of muscular aches, sprains and headaches
- Also effective for itching and insect bites
- Health tablets made from Cow Urine
- For relief from mental stress, skin diseases, liver
- Problems, high blood pressure, bronchitis and cough
- Effective for acidity, gastric troubles, indigestion & stomach aches
- 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
- Soothing chemical free natural fragrance
- Drives away mosquitoes
- Used for pujas
- Used for Yajnas and other fire sacrifices
- A natural mosquito-repellent
For details please visit our website www.govardhannursery.com
Research & Training
- 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.