All posts filed under: Articles

Changing the face of agriculture in Vidarbha

Vidarbha as a name whenever heard, evokes many thoughts and sentiments, most of which are gloomy. Drought, farmer suicides, water distress and many such stories haunt the region and the minds of those, who care about the state of agriculture in India. The story of small and tribal farmers in Maharashtra is no different than that of farmers in other states of the country. At Happy Roots for the last 18 months we have been trying to build a sustainable food value chain that connects farmers directly with processors (F&B Industry) and end consumers. This would help our farmers own a bigger share in the food value chain and make farming an occupation of choice and not one of sustenance. Today, as I write this, we have taken a significant step to change the face of agriculture in Vidarbha. We are transferring the power of earning profitable incomes in the hands of our farmers and giving them the right to choose what to grow and sell it directly to the industry, at the rate they deserve. …

The dilemma of understanding feminism and rural development

This post is not an answer to any question. In fact it is a series of questions that I have been trying to answer myself. In my subconscious I guess I knew that the question about understanding feminism and rural empowerment existed somewhere deep down, inside me but I came face to face with it a few days back when I met the principal of a catering college in Pune. The principal has been working with rural women groups for their training and development for quite a long time. It looks like that she has done some real good work around it. When I shared with her my vision to change the status quo of rural communities I work with, she threw my dilemma right on my face “Do you know what the farmers or the women want? You can’t be on a mission to change something that doesn’t exist”. Of course I was upset for a few seconds but brushed my thoughts aside. Today I visited an annual function of a non-profit that has …

Are we losing our culture and history through our food? This new year know what you eat & what comes to your plate

Food bears a different meaning for each one of us. Celebration, community, comfort, happiness, sharing, culture is some of the broader symbolization or spirit of our food. In the past several years or even since the time we grew up as adults (especially if you are a 70’s or 80’s kid) there has been a transformation in what we eat, how we eat and where we eat. While we see some noticeable and some barely noticeable changes in our food patterns, somewhere back in the areas where our food grows, probably an entire generation of food is becoming history. Did you know that as per environmentalists there were more than 100,000 varieties of rice that existed in India once, now there are only 50. This might help you visualize it better; few years back Basmati rice was a luxury in my house back in Gujarat. During festivals or celebrations, my mother would get this special bag of Basmati rice from the nearby grocery. As a middle-class household we used to find it quite expensive and hence …

My journey with the farmers of Vidarbha and how Happy Roots was born

My whirl winding journey in the so called “notorious” region of Vidarbha (Maharashtra) began after an unforeseen departure from my previous startup Krishi Star. My entry into the world of agriculture was an accident in March 2014, when my passion to work with low income communities pulled me to the dream of working with small and marginal farmers. The idea of Happy Roots was initially as messy as my desk below while I was wrecking my brains over several ideas which can potentially benefit the farmers of Vidarbha. I soon decided to take a trip across the region (Akola district to be specific) and the journey introduced me to some eye opening facts about the state of agriculture here. Vidrabha, like I mentioned before, is notorious for rising number of farmer suicides (as per data in the last decade, an average of 10 farmers commit suicide every single day). Some say that it is the endless loop of cash credit crisis the farmers’ face that forces them to end their lives while some blame it …

Look out of the window

  I wrote this post to ease the pain in my heart. I am finding something amiss for the last few days. This happens once in a while when I get too occupied with my work and household responsibilities. Today I am happy because couple of months back I found the courage to follow my heart. I quit my luxurious corporate job and I now work for a startup that supports small farmers. As I write this post, I am sitting in a canteen of a tribal development center, in the interiors of Gujarat. The sun has set and I only hear some folk music in the background. Whenever I travel to places away from home I connect to my mind and soul. I ask them if they are happy. But today my soul said that it has missed that one thing I have always loved – sharing my experiences through my blog. Few months back when I had not quit my job, I used to read a lot and blog. Then, I wasn’t too busy but …