A Soul Space for Farmers

A green initiative hopes to revive marginalised farming communities

Published: 05th June 2014 08:23 AM  |   Last Updated: 05th June 2014 08:42 AM   |  A+A-


BANGALORE: Celebrated every year on June 5, World Environment Day aims to create awareness about environmental issues. This has encouraged companies and individuals across the world to show their solidarity for climate change and the environment through various positive initiatives. Here is one such initiative, which is trying hard to make a difference to the society.

"Mothers must take the onus of realising their children’s dreams," says Tulsi Devi, a farmer's wife who contributes to the family income by making cold pressed Apricot oil and selling it to SoulTree, an organisation which offers a range of certified natural beauty and personal care products.

Tulsi, is one of the many farmers in the country who are part of the family occupation of cultivating herbs and selling it to companies to earn a living. “With more and more people shying away from farming, lands are turning into wastelands due to lack of cultivation and farming is no longer seen as a viable option. Hence, growing organic crops for large companies assures us of stable returns and we hope something can be done to encourage this,” adds another farmer, Bahadur Singh.

The United Nations had declared the year 2014 as the International Year of Family Farming with an aim to stimulate policies for the sustainable development of farmers, their families and the community at large. And companies like SoulTree have an integral role to play in this direction.

Vishal Bhandari, managing director of SoulTree, agrees, “Family farming represents an opportunity to boost local economies. By supporting farmers in getting the fair prices for the crops, we can help them support their livelihoods and ensure their well-being.”

Considering these farmers are the 'People behind SoulTree,' on the occasion of the World Environment Day on June 5, the company has taken a step to make sure the work of the farmers doesn’t go unappreciated.

Vishal explains, "We wanted to show the farmers how we and our customers are thankful for the work they are doing. We have encouraged our consumers to write a short message for them on a postcard and show them that their dedication and hard work makes a difference.”

SoulTree, is one of the few companies in India which works with farmers like Tulsi and Bahadur. The company works directly with farmer groups primarily in Uttarakhand. In other areas, they work closely with small organisations that aggregate herbs from local organic farmers.  "In most cases, herbs are grown by the farmers in their small holdings, often in addition to other staple crops," Vishal states.

Presently, the company works with a total of 3,000 farmers, directly and indirectly, to source organic herbs to make their products and they sell the products across India. In Bangalore, the products are available in stores like Nisarga Shoppe, Nammane Organics, Aurazia Wellness as well as Religare Wellness outlets. With growing awareness about the benefits of organic products, Vishal says, “We have witnessed a lot of online purchases and interest from the people in Bangalore. We have increased our presence in the city in just two years.”

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