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‘Why I Stopped IIT Prep & Started Farming in Gir Forest’: 25-YO’s Soul-Searching Journey

‘Why I Stopped IIT Prep & Started Farming in Gir Forest’: 25-YO’s Soul-Searching Journey

After experimenting with several things to find life’s purpose, Junagadh’s Siddharth Kubavat found joy in farming. He now owns a farm in Gir Forest, grows his own food and hosts workshops for youth.

Living on a farm away from the hustle and bustle of the city and growing his own organic food on a farm is 25-year-old Siddharth Kubavat. “The sound of birds chirping is my alarm these days. Life has been slow and soothing,” says Siddharth, a certified permaculturist, in a conversation with The Better India.

Growing up in the small town of Junagadh, he always wanted to get into IIT. “The shift from being an IIT aspirant to a humble farmer happened because I was in search of my purpose in life. I feel like people who live in the cities only want to pay their bills. Why are we making things complex when they are simply not?” he shares.

Siddharth found his passion in living close to nature. “I started farming with the intention to live my life organically and promote young people, like me, to live in harmony with nature. It all started with an idea to explore a sustainable and simple way of living,” he says.

Here’s his journey.

A search that ended in nature

“I started to prepare for IIT quite early in my academic career. Even though I spent two years mugging my syllabus and trying to meet the required competencies, there came a time when I realised that I could not spend even a minute of my life doing that anymore. I felt that these institutes are producing machines rather than humans, and I wanted to study a machine and not be one!” he recalls.

So, after completing his schooling, Siddharth was left without a passion to follow.

In 2020 Siddharth purchased a farm in Gir Forest to live organically. Picture credit: Siddharth Kubavat.

“After deciding to not pursue engineering, I took a year off trying to figure out what I was truly passionate about. I was looking into different courses but nothing really clicked,” he says.

“One day, I went to a natural farming workshop and realised that farming is a vast area to explore. It gave me hope that this might help me to find myself; staying in close proximity to nature helped me with this. I volunteered for every natural farming and permaculture workshop in India which kept my interest alive,” he continues.

This inspired him so much that he decided to make a living out of it. So in 2020, he purchased farmland in the Gir Forest.

Talking about his inspiration he says, “It is simply my love for nature. We all hear about global warming and deaths due to chemical-infused food. I just want to make use of what is given to us by nature and carry it forward. Eating healthy and staying healthy is what keeps me going.”

Why live anywhere else when you can live on a farm

Calling his farm ‘The Joy Jungle’, Siddharth has hosted over eight residential workshops, teaching over 36 youngsters.

“I host various workshops and projects for the youth. I give them an introduction to living on a farm and teach them the basics of growing food. When we first started, the pandemic hit and all things went out of order for a while. But now we are back on track striving to reach as many as possible,” he shares.

Besides taking workshops, he also gives consultancy services to help people who want to grow food organically.

Siddharth shares a few tips for those who want to pursue a similar way of living. “Grow your food using planting patterns. Try to find companion plants and set them on levels. For example, some plants love the shade and others love the sun. Layering them would save space and give each plant just what they need.”

He grows a variety of organic and chemical-free fruits like papaya, mango, dragon fruit and kiwi, and vegetables like jackfruit, eggplant, beans and bitter gourd on his farm. He even grows flowers like roses and marigolds.

What’s next?

While Siddharth takes various workshops on his farm, he intends to expand it. He has started to share his work on Instagram to reach more and more youth.

“We are also working on a mud house. We wanted to do that early but the pandemic threw us off track a bit. The design is under construction and is projected to complete by March 2023. I will move to the mud house then and the current house will act as a storage facility,” he says.

When asked how is it to live on a farm, Siddharth says, “My life is as beautiful as it gets. I wake to the sound of birds and sunlight. Then, I spend some quality time in nature with a nice cup of tea. Why live anywhere else when you have all you need here?”

“It is not hard at all if you ask me. We are born with the instinct to survive in nature. It is we who created all these big buildings and machines and made our lives complex. Every day at the farm is unique and engrossing. Besides farming, I spend a lot of time just observing nature. What birds eat which insects…Nature never stops amusing me,” says Siddharth signing off.

For more info on Siddharth’s workshops, you can visit his Instagram page or contact him at 8000598859.

Edited by Pranita Bhat

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