Auro-Orchard: 44 acres, of which 20 are cultivated. 10 acres are under irrigation (drip and sprinkler), with 2 bore wells and pumps, yielding coconuts, fruit, vegetables, green manure, fodder, millets and pulses. 20 acres are used for cashew, mango and regenerative forest. We reduced our herd to 1 cow and 1 bull. For egg production, we raise 2 or 3 batches of 400 hens. On top of the team of 11 workers, we welcome volunteers from 7 to 11am. Annual production: 10t of vegetables, 5t of fruits, 200,000 eggs. The farm is in the process of organic conversion.
Auro-Orchard consists of 45 acres of land, extending over the neighbouring community of Hope. One corner of its land has on it a small shrine to the god Ganesh. Gerard has run the farm from the beginning. It is on one of the first land plots, purchased for Auroville by Mother at around 1965. Larger development started in 1969 by bringing in electricity, which enables two extra bore-wells with submersible pumps.
The Auroville administration paid for the initial investment, but from the middle of 1969 onwards Auro-Orchard became a self-supporting unit. This experiment of self-sufficiency had the full support from the Mother, who gave guidance and instructions directly to Gerard. The farm was developed acre by acre, by reinvesting all farm profits over the next twelve years.
At present, about 25 acres are cultivated. Of these, about eight acres are under irrigation for growing coconuts, fruits, vegetables, fodder and peanuts. On the remaining 17 acres are grown cashew and mango. There is also a very small plot of regenerative forest.
The farm has a dairy of fifteen cows, heifers and calves, and keeps about 250 chickens. Recently three solar powered pumps have been installed, along with micro sprinklers, to reduce the cost of Tamil Nadu State electricity and cut down on overall irrigation costs.
Gerard sees farming at Auro Orchard as a way of manifesting oneself through the work. His overall aim for Auro Orchard is a balanced ecological farm, able to provide a good and reliable supply of food, while sustaining itself.
Christian Ph. 89 40 87 20 19