Our story begins In Warda, Maharashtra - in the seventies...
Call it serendipity: Ajit, at that time a young adult in his early twenties, was part of a team tasked with preparing the ground for Baba Amte’s Worker’s University at Somnat, in Warda District of Maharashtra, India. Doris, a young college student from Germany, would spend her vacations volunteering with social organisations in different parts of the world. This is how she came to Somnat and met Ajit.
Doris and Ajit spent the initial years of their married life at Hannover, Germany. Their sons Ashok and Anil were born here. So also the idea to move back to rural India to start an eco-agricultural project in Ajit’s hometown Goa.
Back in Goa, the first months were spent setting up the basic infrastructure. An irrigation well had to be dug, the house had to be built and all utilities set up. One of the first investments was in a biogas digester to provide for an autonomous supply of cooking gas.
The land had suffered from reckless deforestation based on misguided policies in the 60s. So the task was to regreen 50 acres of barren land, by setting up irrigation, and implementing soil building and conservation measures.
Thus, the land was gradually transformed into a green oasis. The methods employed were largely traditional, and strictly organic. This helped the ecosystem recover, and it’s now teeming with biodiversity.
In the meantime, the kids had a great time growing up on the plantation. The daily 1.5 hour commute to school was compensated by the perks of a giant natural playground – swimming in an open well, climbing trees, building rafts at the nearby river… even riding buffalos!
Oma, Doris’ mother, used to spend the winter months at the farm. She ensured the kids maintained their connection to Germany with a steady supply of German childrens’ books and Fairytales. The kids would soon be joined by a little sister – Arti. The three would go on to do their higher studies in Germany. Eventually though, all of them found their way back to Goa.
The land now produces abundant yields of fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices. The cropping pattern is consciously very diverse, the main crops being coconut, betelnut, cashew and pepper.
Starting with family & friends, a steady flow of visitors have made their way to the farm. A few cottages as guest accommodation, a nature trail and a natural water swimming pool have since been added for guest comfort.
Value added products like Ghee, Coconut Oil, Jams and Pickles are now also produced at the farm. Ajit’s Urak (first distilled Cashew Liquor) has become famous within and beyond Goa for it’s excellent quality and purity.
Ajit has received several recognitions for his work in organic farming, amongst them the prestigious Goan Farmer of the Year award. He’s also been engaged with local and regional ecological movements and social initiatives. The farm has been featured on FoxLife India, The Telegraph, The Hindu and many more. Watch us on German TV here.
WHAT OUR GUESTS SAY
“This place has a magical down to earth feel to it. I will go back for a visit soon.” – Raj Anand/Cologne
“The unique garden is one of my favourite places in India. I have found a real paradise here.” – Olga Okuneva/Amsterdam
“Would definitely recommend it.” – Janelle Meier/Berlin