healthy produce for the community while maintaining the ecological
balance of its environment. has always been the ideal of Auroville.
Despite challenging conditions, Auroville experiments with ecological
agriculture that favours natural inputs and genetic diversity.
Early settlers in Auroville had to work extensively to stem
erosion and reclaim the land before agriculture could be undertaken.
Slowly, viable pesticide-free farmlands were created which demonstrated
various aspects of organic tropical food production.
Auroville has 14 farms comprising about 400 acres under ecological
agriculture. 35 Aurovilians who employ about 200 workers from
the neighbouring villages manage the farms, coordinated by the
Auroville Farm Group.
experiments in Auroville include many different methods, such
as biodynamics, permaculture, earth bodies, vermiculture, inter-planting
and cover cropping with nitrogen fixing leguminous plants (both
indigenous and exotic), use of Effective Micro-organisms etc.
These are combined with technologies for eco-friendly use of
water and electricity, involving windmills, solar panels, rainwater
harvesting and drip/sprinkler systems.
studies include: mixed systems farming and agro ecosystems,
green manures and the use of intercropping in agriculture, natural
biodiversity and use of microclimates, agro forestry, collection
of seeds of traditional varieties, water harvesting, organic
pest control, hygienic animal husbandry, solar & wind power,
energy saving tools for tillage, mulc farming and ecological
accounting. Auroville is currently self-sufficient in milk and
some seasonal fruits. It produces about 2% of its total rice
and grain requirements and 50% of its total fruit and vegetable
Auroville Farm Group coordinates plans for the development of
Auroville farms and facilitates the distribution of farm produce.
It documents and disseminates information in the community about
agricultural ventures, and helps in the placement of volunteers
in Auroville farms.
activities in ecological agriculture include:
Annapurna Farm experiments with traditional dry land farming,
has a seed-bank of non-hybridised local seeds, and maintains
a network with other organisations on a national level whose
activities are focused on the preservation of agricultural biodiversity
and preservation of local heritage.
Auroville's food processing units play an important ancillary
role by developing a variety of food products made with local
Auroannam sources and markets organically certified produce
in India. Other units specialize in marketing organic coffee
Auroville's chemical testing laboratory has facilities for testing
soil and water.
Ecological agriculture in Auroville faces challenges from many
Master Plan of the Auroville Township, envisaged for a population
of 50,000 inhabitants, includes a Green Belt of 3,650 acres
comprising farms and forests. It is planned to locate farms
primarily in the western hemisphere of the Green Belt, due to
the better quality of land in that area. Since Auroville still
has to acquire 58% of the designated Green Belt area, there
is a pressing need to buy enough prime agricultural land to
achieve self sufficiency in organic food production.
of degraded land still continues to be one of the biggest challenges
to farming. Financial and human resources are badly needed to
improve the efficiency of the farms and make ecological agriculture
immediate needs include better coordination of the produce,
improving the processing and marketing of organic food, upgrading
the facilities of the chemical laboratory, and establishing
centres for dissemination of agricultural knowledge.