Sun farm is a community in the making for people on a spiritual pursuit. Ranga and Crystal own the land and are the pioneers of this community. Their vision is to build small cottages for a few families and design the land in a way that it can nourish the community in several ways while creating a sustainable economy for the project primarily based on the land.
The land is 11 acres in size and is located in Kodaikanal (Tamil Nadu) at 1800 m on the north-facing slope in the Palani hills of the Western Ghats. The vertical drop from the highest point in the land to the lowest point is about 130 m. More than half of the land was a red eucalyptus forest planted a few decades ago by the ex-owners of the land (these trees are slowly being cut and replaced with different fruit trees).
The land had been taken care of by Saraswati, Raju and their children who stayed on the land for about 8 years and left to go back to their home in Nepal in April 2015. They took care of the land, the cows, the two hundred odd trees of pear, plum and peach and planted seasonal crops in small patches for personal consumption.
Ranga and Crystal asked us to join them after a Permaculture Design Course in Auroville. The course was taught by Rico Zook and assisted by Martine Bastide and Roman Eisenkölbl. Rico and Martin were brought in the project to develop a Permaculture design based on the clients’ vision.
Our role on the land was to look after the land, observe its ecological relationships, build a home for ten cows (there were already seven cows), take care of the animals on the land (many dogs and cats) and start making the land a farm. We were also to help create a team of people from the closest village, Vilpatti, who would be the core working team for the farm and possibly pioneers in their village for alternate methods of farming and economics.
We were involved in the project from January 2015 to June 2016.