Planting Seeds of Sustainability

Earthville Prepares to Launch New Project in Indian Himalayas

TerracesBIR, HIMACHAL PRADESH, INDIA: Earthville’s Dharmalaya team is planting seeds, literally and figuratively, for a new sustainable village development project in the Himalayas.

In the tiny, tranquil town of Bir, about three hours by road from the Tibetan exile capital of Dharamshala, the coriander and green beans have begun to sprout in the new organic garden in front of Dharmalaya’s new staging ground, a four-room house surrounded by local farmers’ homes, in which Dharmalaya has set up shop to serve as the base of operations for the new project in Bir.

Having established the ad hoc HQ, and having forged partnerships with local organizations and individuals, the next goal is to take steps toward creating a green local micro-economy. The first step will be to organize a group of farmers to grow certain non-genetically-modified crops organically. The second step will be working with village women to create a cottage industry in which unemployed or underemployed local women seeking income will create food products (such as organic tofu) from the local harvests. The third step will be facilitating commercial relationships with local eateries and Buddhist monasteries will buy the goods from the women’s cooperative.

In this model, everyone wins! The farmers, their families and the earth (and its little critters) benefit from the increase in organic farming and the absence of harmful chemicals. The village women benefit from a great job. The local institutions and international visitors benefit from having fresh organic food at reasonable prices. And the ozone layer benefits from having a local economy (with reduced long-distance trucking).

Would you like to get involved? We can use the support of volunteers and also cash contributions (tax-deductible in the US). For details, visit the Dharmalaya web page.

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