Farms in Auroville cover some 400 acres of cultivated land, managed by 35 Auroville residents. The farms employ about 200 full-time workers from surrounding villages. All farmers work with some combination of orchards, crop fields, vegetable gardens and/or dairy. They study the relationship between traditional farming and modern agriculture, using eco-friendly technologies such as windmills (for pumping water), solar energy, drip irrigation, micro sprinklers and biogas collectors. Each farmer can work in his own field of interest, taking into consideration the quality of the soil, the availability of water, and the investment potential. Some farmers work in related projects such as seed banks, farm education, and food processing.
The aim of growing food for Auroville initially implied the strategy of acquiring large landholdings and making big investments. But over the years the quality of some of the purchased land proved poor - if not poisoned by previous spraying - and needing long term rehabilitation. Intrusion by outsiders with herds of cows or goats has been a perennial problem, with livestock breaking fences and damaging whole crops. Protecting the farmland is therefore a priority. Other challenges are the limited growing season of December to March, harsh summers, overwhelming monsoons and other risks of crop failure.
The Farm Group coordinates the activities of Auroville Farms. Foodlink coordinates the distribution and sales of farm produce to Solar Kitchen, PTDC, Auroville restaurants and directly to customers via the Foodlink outlet at the end of the Solar Kitchen complex.
Auroville's commitment to support the food growing effort began in earnest in 1976. In August of 1979, the collective working was further clarified with the emergence of the food growing co-operative, a group of individuals and settlements involved with food production and distribution in Auroville.
List of Auroville farms
- Ayarpadi Farm
- Buddha Garden
- Discipline Farm
- Djaima farm
- Kottakarai farm
- Service Farm
- Siddhartha Farm
- Solitude Farm
- Windarra Farm
- "Finding a new way for Auroville agriculture", David Wickenden, Auroville Review ~5, 1981 as cited in From the Treasure Garden