The Farm Group is a coordinating body of farmers in Auroville that meets regularly to discuss common concerns and work on common projects. The vision for the Farm Group is "a healthy and conscious farming system, integrated with and providing food for the community."
Objectives and Activities
To realize its vision the Farm Group has identified the following goals:
- Serving the community by growing healthy produce in response to the needs of the community; Informing and involving them in the process.
- Improving quality and increasing production, whilst sustaining the environment by farming ecologically.
- Efficiently managing the farms with transparent and detailed record keeping, and making farms financially viable with support from the community and outside interested parties, while moving towards a collective economy.
In 1994 the Farm Group was constituted, consisting of almost all of the Auroville farmers, with the aim of sharing resources, coordinating production and agreeing upon prices. It also facilitated problem-solving and common funding appeals. In some ways it was the beginning of a turnaround in the farms' fortunes. The Farm Group persuaded the Economy Group to classify farming as part of the service sector of Auroville, and this led to farmers receiving a maintenance (albeit a very low one) from the Central Fund and some security against financial losses. Other funding for infrastructure improvements came from the Foundation for World Education and Stichting de Zaaier, while the Auroville incense unit, Maroma, has provided substantial support over the past few years to Annapurna and Siddhartha Farm.
The Auroville Farm Group (AVFG) coordinates the planning of fourteen Auroville farms that aim at producing natural and healthy food. The AVFG coordinates the farms' production toward meeting Auroville's requirements.
Over time the AVFG farms have received moderate funds, but find it difficult to compete with wider India's subsidised farming. Final investments will be needed to set agriculture in Auroville on its own feet, with the packaging and distribution of produce that are qualified organic, in accordance with Indian National standards.
Meanwhile, a lot has been learned by the pioneering ‘down to earth' farmers that is well worth sharing with students and experts. From the other side, there are many ways the farms can be improved with the help of experts and advanced students. This makes the increased coordination and unification of the farms a practical and synergistic goal.
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