A Wilderness Collective
The Poomaale Estate is the first wilderness collective from Beforest located near the town of Kakabe, Coorg in the midst of the Western Ghats at an elevation of 1040 meters. It is a neighbourhood full of fresh food, flowing streams, rolling Shola hills, a few hundred species of birds and animals and lots and lots of coffee.
Poomaale (literally meaning– Garland of Flowers) – perhaps a reference to the hills carpeted with flowers during the annual coffee bloom season. This community is set amidst 128 acres of coffee and forest and several kilometres of trails that connect the homes to the wilderness. We are committed to leaving approximately half the estate as a low intervention tropical forest and have consciously restricted food production activities to the other half. This is keeping in mind the sensitive nature of the landscape we occupy and its importance in terms of water security to the states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
The architectural planning of the Poomaale Estate is a new benchmark in sustainable landscapes. Habitation structures are restricted to under 5 acres cumulatively. The design encourages a connection with nature and the community and helps contribute to the ecosystem positively. We aim to create a model of ecological sustainability and economic viability that allows other estates to adopt one without compromising the other.
The Poomaale Estate spans 128 acres of which around 70 acres are under cultivation today. It encompasses three hillocks, two lakes, a perennial stream and countless natural springs and monsoon nullahs.
The collective is home to a functioning coffee plantation along with mixed food and fruit trees that include native plants like peppers, spices, oranges, cardamom, mangoes, figs, avocadoes, interspersed across the estate. All our produce here grows naturally, without the use of any external nutrition, artificial pest control and with intervention mostly restricted to pruning in two of the five blocks. Our commitment to leave 50% of the estate completely wild is validated in these undisturbed zones having abundant wildlife including big cats, small clawed otters, elephants, bat colonies, etc. This makes our estate a perfect demonstration of co-existence.
Thanks to the lack of maintenance of the previous owners, the eco system has strong indicators of a forest system. For e.g. even in the peak of the monsoon, Kembuva Poley, our perennial stream runs crystal clear water. This tells us that the root systems run deep and the soil is being held tight by the tropical system.
We have undertaken detailed biodiversity studies with ecology experts to understand the state of the eco system. Thanks to these, we have been able to control any wildlife – human conflict by managing our plantation activities by not disturbing or encroaching upon their movement corridors. We are striving hard to establish a multi-use forest landscape that is both ecologically and economically viable.
We refer to our estate as a forest friendly estate – by which we mean that for every day the estate runs, it adds to the ecosystem bank. This is unlike other aspects of our existence where we are constantly drawing on our surrounding peripheral ecosystem services increasingly.
We have recently launched our brand of forest friendly coffee under the brand name – Bewild Coffee. Available in 7 variants including 2 Indian Filter Coffee’s, 2 Roasted Beans, 2 Cold Brews and 1 Green Bean; these are entirely sourced from the Poomaale Estate. While these will soon be listed on leading e-commerce and online coffee portals, they are currently available on our website https://bewild.beforest.co
Besides the coffee plantation, we have planted over 1200 pepper, 1000 cardamom, 500 Coorg mandarins, 100 jackfruits, cocoa across the estate as part of our diversification plans.
We are also planning to run hospitality operations and seasonal experiential events at the collective in the near future to improve the odds of an early break even operationally.
On the construction front, we have already completed the Blyton Bungalow (Guest House) with 6 rooms which is a shared accommodation facility and it is already hosting the members and their families. Besides this, a community kitchen, dining area, staff quarters, stores etc are also created as common infrastructure jointly owned by all members.
After the successful subscription of Poomaale Collective phase 1, we are now looking for the seed community for Poomaale Collective phase 2. Last few slots in the seed community are left as of today.
The Poomaale Collective is home to a select group of individuals who believe strongly in the vision and its importance in the scheme of things. If you think you are one such person and would be interested in being a part of this collective then please click on the ‘Enquire Now’ button on the right hand side of this page and share some details. Our team members would be happy to speak to you.
Once you have lived in the mountains, you belong to themRuskin Bond