Our “projects” are a function of you.
We identify interest in an area, or something that we feel is worth doing from an impact pov, and we start the conversation with folks who might be interested in becoming a seed group on it, and come up with a plan/concept/costs for the place.
It’s a “go” only when a min requisite number people have signed up, asked us many questions, even helped with the thought process to refine the concept.
We then start the permaculture studies at the place, as well as get the architects involved to arrive at the detailed plan of action, as well as the design. Again, this is all done in active collaboration with the community members and other stakeholders. The members also start work on framing the rule book for the governance and operations at the place (withing the framework of a few basic principles of the project, of course).
Our collectives are crowdfunded, crowd-sourced in the terms of ideas, effort, knowledge, even as we involve consultants and experts who are not only good at what they do, but also passionate about it and ready to drive us harder to do better, and as we manage the process to ensure continuity and success of a baseline set of goals.
It’s not always the smoothest, easiest way to create a place like this. But the outcomes are the best. The costs more optimal. And the coming together of a like-minded set of folks most satisfying for everyone.
If you’re interested in any of our current collectives, or have ideas for more where you live, do get in touch at email@example.com
We’d love to co-create a more sustainable, beautiful future with you.
Before you jump to conclusions, We are referring to Ruskin Bond. Yes, the other one… the real one. One of our members was telling us the other day about how they had thought of “The Man From The Hills” when they were reading our website. Thats probably the best compliment we have received. Ever!. Ruskin to us symbolises the romanticism of the simpler ways, the joy of just existing without an agenda – The metaphorical fly on the wall. His writing taught us how a chilly winter night in the hills can be delicious as well, how a summer morning in Delhi, could be romanticised with a juicy mango. His quote, “And when all the wars are over, a butterfly will still be beautiful” , is the cornerstone of our way of thinking. No matter what ‘scientific advancements’ we achieve , no matter how much we increase the yield, there is no way we can really understand the intricacies of a living eco system by a few quantitative measurements. Eventually, based on one’s capacity, science would merge into philosophy. For us that philosophy is to just let nature do its job. We can use design to tune it in a certain way but let this beautiful tool work its magic for you. Try not to interfere or whats worse, improve!! Focus those mental faculties instead on what Ruskin calls, the simpler joys of life.
As one writer, puts it, Ruskin taught us how not growing up is the most important art someone can teach you. Thank you Ruskin for make us see that life need not be compartmentalized into childhood and adulthood. We are pretty determined to never grow up and be hopeless romantics at heart, always chasing the proverbial butterfly.
Everyday in the morning, when i open the news papers i see atleast half a dozen ads about green ventures using all the buzz words – eco-friendly, sustainable, water harvesting, etc etc. The best example of this was a resort near Ramnagar,Corbett National Park, whose idea of sustainability was to build the entire resort inside a giant, brown synthetic cave. When we started BeForest, we came up with a simple description of what we wanted to do – a food secure, water secure sustainable landscape. This, ofcourse, was before we realised we were participating in the jargon wars that were taking place in the real estate sector (we hate identifying ourselves with this space but unfortunately we are often generalized into it). Quite obviously, our audience also kept comparing us to the real estate projects and other ‘farm plot’ projects. This made this post necessary.
Sustainability to us is not a buzz word. Its measurable to a great extent. How much you are impacting your surroundings can very easily be boiled down to a few numbers. Whether our method of farming is degrading the soil or not can be expressed as soil carbon content. Whether our activities are disturbing the local wildlife or not can be expressed by a simple bird count. Without elaboarting a lot, what we simply want to bring out here is that for us, sustainability is a concept that we closely monitor using metrics. Based on those we adapt our processes. We consider ourselves nothing more than students and nature, our teacher. We tweak it a bit and see what response we get and based on that we keep adapting our approach.
A very good example of how we are using quantitative methods is how we monitor our growth as a forest. A forest system, according to us, needs to be completely self sustaining. What this means is that we dont even supply water or manure, not even organic manure to the system. If it manages to thrive inspite of that, then its a forest system. One of the many factors that allow a forest system to survive is the high amounts of soil carbon content – hovering typically around 3-4% by weight. A farm land, even the ‘fertile’ ones, would be somewhere close to 0.3%. Thats a 10x degradation over time. So that makes the target very clear to us. We need to make sure we get to 4% soil carbon before we can call ourselves a food forest. By identifying measurable goals like this, our journey is checkpointed and benchmarked. More importantly we can clearly identify the methods that are working for us.
While it is tough to communicate the uniqueness of our approach in a one-liner, the audience that has bought into our vision and backed us has been a huge inspiration for us. Validation always helps. Its time to get to work now.