Sunday Anchor

Vivek and Juli Cariappa, 50

Vivek and Juli tend to their cows. Photo: M.A. Sriram  

Long before organic farming entered the mainstream vocabulary, a young couple from Delhi packed their bags and left for H.D. Kote, 50 km south of Mysore, a remote area in the middle of forests and tribal settlements.

Thirty years on, Vivek and Juli Cariappa have no regrets. “We realised how artificial urban existence was. We wanted to live amid nature with control over our destiny,” says Vivek. The Cariappas call themselves “farmers by choice”.

Before: Garment export business
Now: Organic farmers, Mysuru
The two Delhi University graduates were handling marketing and design, respectively, for a garment export company. They threw it all away to buy 13 acres of barren land in H.D. Kote because ‘’it was idyllic, cut off from the mainstream, not even a railway line”.

The city-dwellers had no farming knowledge. “It was a learning process,” they say, and it brought them closer to nature. Today, their farm Krac-A-Dawna, has a variety of organic crops spread over 40 acres. A portion of the land was left to regenerate and be reclaimed by birds and animals.

However, their dream was not just about having a good time in a farmhouse. It was about entering the world of rural economics, agricultural crisis and debt and to help mitigate rural problems through activism and policy. Their efforts have given rise to an organic farmers association.

Vivek and Juli say they may have lost the so-called security of the urban system. But the gains have been abundant: they are independent, self-reliant and lead a sustainable life, free of the fear of ‘living’. And their sons Kabir and Azad are following in their parents’ footsteps.

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Printable version | Mar 2, 2021 4:04:30 PM |

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