For Mahesh anna his farm is a sacred space – the source of all his inspiration and learning. His journey into natural farming has made him conscious and mindful. Living in harmony with nature has become his way of life.
In these times of distress, when most farmers practicing conventional chemical farming are struggling to make ends meet, Mahesh anna has wisely chosen to accept what nature has to offer. While he doesn’t have to worry about the rise in fertilizer prices and water shortage, but as someone practicing natural farming he does have concerns about getting the right price for his produce.
A man of few words and one who believes in ‘work is worhsip’, Bhoomi’s Senior fellow, A.S. Mahesh, is a natural farmer in Gubbi district, Karnataka. Fondly called Mahesh anna, he is an example and inspiration of how every situation life is in fact an opportunity to learn and evolve. His own experience of suffering from ill health nearly two decades ago was a turning point that saw him take up natural living, making him more eco-conscious and less ego-conscious in the process.
The evolution into natural farming may have been personal for Mahesh anna, but his learning and knowledge are experiences that he likes to freely share with others. He is actively involved in promoting natural farming and providing training to the farmers in his village and other parts of the state. Recently, students from the Gandhi Krishi Vigyan Kendra (GKVK), as a part of their Rural Agriculture Work Experience (RAWE) program, spent three months with Mahesh anna learning about natural farming and gaining hands-on experience on the farm.
Mahesh anna is also a prominent member of the Zero Budget Natural Farmers (ZBFN), a group of farmers who advocate taking up natural farming as a means of escaping the debt route, and, most importantly, a healthy and environment-friendly practice that trumps conventional farming practices.
The group is in talks with the Karnataka state government for promoting training and practice of natural farming in the state.
Mahesh anna conducts regular workshops for school students, IT professionals, farmers and just about anyone interested in adopting a more holistic approach of growing and consuming food. His effort is to build an eco conscious community by bridging the gap between the farmers and consumers; rural communities and urban folk, so that there is recognition, respect, and empowerment of the local farmer.
On his son’s birthday, this year, Mahesh anna planted 200 trees that he regularly waters and maintains. He sees his efforts in afforestation as seva to mother Earth. In his own words when he first read “The One Straw Revolution” by Masanobu Fukuoka, he had a mystical experience with an awakening inside and three whole days of silence. This awakening led to his commitment of living life the natural way.
Padma Sri Subash Palekar is also an inspiration for Mahesh anna.
Leading a minimalist life, he is content and grateful for the way life has unfolded itself to him. His vision of making his village a model village free of chemicals and full of eco-conscious people living in harmony with nature is his mission in life.
“When it is understood that one loses joy and happiness in the attempt to possess them, the essence of natural farming will be realized. The ultimate goal of farming is not the growing of crops, but the cultivation and perfection of human beings.”
– The One-Straw Revolution