Born and brought up in the small town of Karur, Tamil Nadu, Aravinthan R P (38) was always under the influence of farming.
After completing his engineering degree and then master’s in Germany, he worked as a research assistant at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology before coming back home in 2012.
“My father wanted me to write civil service exams so I decided to prepare for that. In the meantime, my father took over the management of a school in Coimbatore, so we moved closer to it,” he shares.
Wanting to provide the students of the school with nutritious and organically grown food led him on an amazing journey.
“We looked for sellers who sell organic vegetables, but there was no proof that they were actually organic. So we decided to grow our own food,” he says.
“Since we decided to do organic farming, we figured out that heirloom seeds would be the best option. We would give only natural fertilisers and nutrients to all the plants, so they become genetically strong and adaptable,” he says.
Aravinthan shares that what started as just an urge to give healthy food to the kids turned into a completely different thing. In 2015, they started growing their own organic food on the school premises on the occasion of Pongal.
“To encourage youngsters to do farming, we have a program called agricultural sciences in our school. The students of the course help in planting the crops and harvesting them. They get a first-hand experience in farming,” he shares.
Whatever the school produces is usually consumed by the students and the leftovers are free for anyone to take home.
“The seeds, on the other hand, are given to enthusiasts like me who want to conserve them. We don’t sell them but rather share them. The activity of preserving seeds is not a business but a service for me,” says Aravinthan who also runs a seed bank.
So far, he has collected and planted various seeds — saving close to 70 varieties of eggplant, 20 varieties of okra, 28 varieties of tomatoes, and 20 varieties of beans.
Presently, they are able to produce around 2,000 kg of vegetables and various varieties of beans every year.
“We grow tomatoes, eggplant, radish, okra, broad beans, chillies, drumsticks, pumpkins etc. We also have water apples, vanilla tamarind, coconuts, and some pulses like green gram and pigeon pea lentils,” he informs.
With this practice, Aravinthan hopes to make farming profitable and induce more and more youth into agriculture.
If you are interested in conserving seeds and saving different species, Aravinthan is willing to share his knowledge.You can reach him at 76395 55088.