When industrial agriculture took over in India around the 1940s, many traditions related to farming and wildcrafting tulsi, also known as holy basil, were lost. But regenerative agriculture ushers in a return to these rituals.
“Those who understand keep tulsi close to them, in the center of their homes. It keeps the energy of the house pure through day and night. And pure energy is necessary for life,” says Chote Lal, a farmer of tulsi. The farm has been in Lal’s family for generations, and 15 years ago, he went organic. Following that, he started working with Organic India, a company selling safe and effective herbal products like tea and supplements, that introduced him and other farmers and wildcrafters (workers who harvest wild plants) in the country to regenerative agriculture.
Regenerative agriculture goes well beyond organics and sustainability—it’s a holistic farming system that focuses not only on preserving the land, but also on improving it. Compared to industrial practices, this type of agriculture is better for local farmers, wildcrafters, communities, and ecosystems—here are just a few of its incredible benefits.
Regenerative agriculture involves cultivating soil in a way that reduces erosion and conserves water; planting cover crops to protect and enrich soil; composting to promote water retention and plant growth; and rotating crops to boost soil fertility and crop yield.
When all of these methods come together, it can only improve the overall quality of the land—and support the biodiversity of the surrounding ecosystem. The improved soil quality also helps protect the environment by sequestering more excess carbon, which in turn may actually minimize effects of global warming.
Organic India is truly invested in the livelihoods of the network of farmers and wildcrafters it employs, educating them in regenerative agriculture practices and even covering their fees for organic certifications. With these skills their farms become more productive, allowing them to cultivate an abundance of premium herbs, which Organic India purchases at a fair market price. Even better, farmers are able to keep their lands fertile for generations to come.
All of these efforts amount to sustainability in the truest sense—farmers are able to provide adequate food production to meet the nutritional needs of the population at both the community and global level. Organic India also regenerates the local villages by giving them access to clean water and health care, improving infrastructure, and offering empowerment and gender equality programs to all, including women, widows, the elderly, and the illiterate. That means quality of life improves all around—from the land itself to the lives of the people who call it home.
Environmental, economic, and social benefits aside, regenerative agriculture also inspires a revitalized sense of spirituality in India’s farming communities and beyond. The people have a greater incentive than ever to revere tulsi, Organic India’s flagship ingredient, as the goddess it was once believed to be.
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