Polam is a young permaculture farm in the Telangana district of India. It is the main venue for the International Permaculture Convergence 2017 hosted by Aranya Agricultural Alternatives.
My wife, Natalie, and I have been in India for 3 weeks now. 1 week at Aranya farm and 2 weeks at Polam farm. We are volunteering to help get things ready for the convergence and learn about implementing permaculture practices in a tropical climate.
The environment, requirements and vibe are different at Polam compared to Aranya. Polam is much bigger, around 100 acres compared to Aranya’s 12 acres. The permaculture farm here has been in development for a relatively young 3 years compared to Aranya’s 20 years. The Polam project is lead by farmers Supriya and Anil, along with Narsana and Padma from Aranya, with support from a team of workers and volunteers. The farm is surrounded by GM cotton fields to the east, south and west. To the north is a large lake, no doubt polluted by fertiliser and pesticide run off from the cotton fields. Much like Aranya, which is surrounded by the environmentally destructive cash crop eucalyptus, Polam offers a haven and alternative to modern monoculture agricultural practices.
There are a range of permaculture systems being implemented for the convergence and for the longer term sustainability of the land. I have been leading on the waste project, implementing a waste management system aiming to recover resources and reuse as much as possible. I have also been working with the toilet and waste water systems teams to map black water systems and contributing toward the design of compost toilets. Early in the mornings, as the sun rises from 6am, I have been spending a couple of hours with Nat in the vegetable patch, helping to grow crops for the convergence and learn about permaculture farming practices. As a self organising and self supporting team of volunteers we are all working very well together and working hard toward the success of the projects on the farm.
A permaculture design course has recently started which has seen an additional 100 people come to the site. The next few weeks is a good opportunity for the systems here to be put to the test, then improved as required ready for the 600 people who will be attending the convergence.
Follow the links below to find out more about Polam, Aranya and the International Permaculture Convergence.