Life in Mumbai was a revelation in many ways.
We had recently had a child and I was concerned about what we fed her. My friends teased me that the seasonal watermelons I was so happy feeding her were actually grown in the nala running by the infamous LBS road! Locally produced and sourced, but of what quality?
The next option I found was visiting farmers’ markets for vegetables and fruits and ordering dairy from brands that claimed to offer healthy milk – both expensive options.
We tried moving away to the outskirts, but still, apartments had no space to grow even a simple row of greens. The maximum I could do was grow a little palak in the window sill. We were held hostage for something as basic as clean milk, vegetables and fresh chemical-free fruits for my family.
This is when I came across community-run gardens that grew organic vegetables. People feeling disoriented just like me decided to take charge and be the change they wanted to see. However, there were still some drawbacks
- Lack of space, limiting the variety and quantity of vegetables and fruits.
- Milk – hardly possible to rear livestock in an apartment complex.
- Most importantly, the soil was not rich enough to produce much.
This is why you need scale. Sizeable lands give you a landscape that can hold water, soil that can guard against chemicals from neighbouring lands, cattle that can live freely, and a natural ecosystem that can sustain itself and enable regenerative farming.
Beforest was born from this need. The Mumbai Collective is the perfect solution to the problem of the majority of the city. Like our other collectives, we plan to make it a self-sustaining farming community with food, water and power security.
The size of over 100 acres allows us to implement permaculture principles by the book while offering ample space for wildlife to move freely and thrive. A forest ecosystem that will ensure the landscape is not only restored but turns regenerative and lives for years with minimal human intervention. What’s more, the landscape will also lend us simple pleasures like star gazing, relaxing forest walks, camping, bird watching, and more. For children, it is the best way to connect with nature – getting their hands dirty to make seed bombs, planting saplings and seeing a forest grow around them.
I am proud to be part of Beforest and delighted to welcome you all to this movement. The movement to take charge of our basic necessities.