Sooraj, a BSc Agriculture student to take up organic farming and also help other farmers in Kerala give up chemicals used in agricultural practices.
Soon, he turned this tiny kitchen garden into a venture campaigning for organic farming. Taking his knowledge beyond the observations he had made as a child, Sooraj, in his final year at the College of Horticulture, Kerala Agricultural University, researched various methods of farming. He also undertook training under Subash Palekar’s Zero Budget Natural Farming (ZBNF).
ZBNF is a technique of farming that requires no production cost. Relying on natural resources such as land and water available in a particular area, ZBNF technique helps grow organic crops.
By the age of 17, Sooraj had already studied the climatic and topographic conditions of his hometown in Wayanad, Kerala. In the past four years, he went from growing tomato and cowpea plants to organic bananas, beans, bitter gourds, cabbages, carrots, capsicum, eggplants, green chillies, potatoes, tomatoes and yams!
Sooraj formed “Project Earthworm”, a farmer’s group where he got together with organic farmers like him to conserve over 100 varieties of rice, tubers and other crops while also marketing the need to shift from chemical farming.