Integrated Ecosystem Management for Healthy Landscapes and Healthy People by Govardhan Ecovillage
Jul 2, 2019
Due to the impact of Urbanization and Industrialization, the need and exploitation of natural resources is increasing, and industries are being forced to explore distant and remote areas for obtaining resources (the LDC rural areas). The wastes from these resources are dumped back in these distant areas like landfills, rivers, oceans etc. The industries extract from the resource loop without contributing any ecological benefit. This project is a perfect way of reducing the gap between the consumption and resource loop.
Great work! Good luck!
Jul 2, 2019
Commendable practice Mr. Gauranga Das. To take any nation ahead we need to target rural specific developmental models which meet our core requirements of economical and ecological sustainability. Villages are the backbone of nations and need to be supported in the same way. Replicated of your practice in the LDC countries, this will help progress the LDC countries economically, socially and emotionally.
best of Luck!
Jul 2, 2019
Very intriguing to see a rural set-up with green technology combined with indigenous techniques for a circular economy. Definitely, a green revolution!
All the best!
Jul 2, 2019
Excellent proposal Mr. Gauranga. My country, Ivory Coast is heavily dependent on agriculture. But for years people tend to think that Ivory Coast needs to reduce its dependence on agriculture and expand its industrial economy in order to compete in the global market. But your proposal gives insightful information on how the rural farm communities are so valuable for the proper growth of the nation. This will solve the crisis in LDC countries whereby the rurals migrate to urban areas in search of jobs due to the degraded rural lands and no resilience to climate change.
Best wishes for the proposal.
Jul 2, 2019
As part of the SDG's, "achieving economic growth and sustainable development requires that we urgently reduce our ecological footprint by changing the way we produce and consume goods and resources. Agriculture is the biggest user of water worldwide, and irrigation now claims close to 70 percent of all freshwater for human use. The efficient management of our shared natural resources, and the way we dispose of toxic waste and pollutants, are important targets to achieve this goal. Encouraging industries, businesses and consumers to recycle and reduce waste is equally important, as is supporting developing countries to move towards more sustainable patterns of consumption by 2030". Mr. Gauranga Das and his team is doing an excellent job by showing how this can be done and this is shifting us towards a more resource efficient economy. This project should be replicated across the globe.
Jul 19, 2019
Very comprehensive Project Proposal. Ours(MIIGIT is on the similar lines but on a larger modular parametric scale. Well analysized and duely credited for reference. Whatever is the final result of the competition would love to collaborate for repetative modular replication in different areas of need across the globe.
Cheers and regards,
(re apoorn viraam)(Re-quest)
Aug 12, 2019
1. What measures are put in to promote buy-in and sustainability of the eco-village? Please elaborate on the incentive mechanisms and how governments and/or private sector could support this.
Ans: Various innovative measures can be devised to promote buy in and sustainability of the Ecovillage.
Financial Innovation: One of the major problems faced by farmers in the rural backward areas is poor market linkages where by the farmers do not earn sufficient income from their produce. Setting up a system of proper value chain without involvement of intermediaries could boost their income and morale so that they can happily live in the villages. In order to do that a Limited Liability Company can be set up by the Ecovillage where in the company purchases the grains and milk from the farmers directly and sell it in the cities. The company could begin working on a pilot basis for a year and purchase milk from the farmers having livestock like cows and sell it in the cities. The process involves setting up collection centers in the village managed by a villager and the farmers can bring milk. At the collection center, the milk could be checked for its FAT and SNF content (This will avoid adulteration) and farmers paid as per that. The milk is then put in the bulk milk cooler which bring the temperature of the milk from normal to 3-4 degree Celsius. The milk is then put in the insulated tanker and brought to the fulfilment centre in the city where it could be pasteurised and then packed in glass bottles and distributed. Since the whole process is headed by Ecovillage volunteers and supported by employing village it is a sustainable and reliable process and give trust to the customers. The scale of the operation can be increased after a period of 1-2 years depending on the demand. This innovative business model is very feasible and has been tried and tested by the volunteers of Govardhan Ecovillage who have established the company called as Haribol Inc. (https://hari-bol.com/) The model has been in operation since over 7-8 years and has scaled up to distribution of 3000 litres of milk supply from over 5-6 villages. It has also attracted private investors who have purchased around 50% of equity in the business and are supporting through their guidance. The next stage of this business model is generating hand churned ghee, flavoured milk and butter milk with the help of tribal women around GEV thus generating employment for them as well
Another innovative initiative that could be launched is to establish a consumer products industry where in the company purchases grains from the farmers, processes it, packages it and then sell it in the market. This model has also been in implementation by GEV volunteers since few years. The GEV being FBO is operated under the guidance of monks and spiritual principles and hence encourages purity and creates trust in the hearts of our consumers. Hence GEV has established a company https://safebasket.in/ under the same brand Haribol. This has also attracted the interested of the some of the major retailers of the country who have agreed to take it on to the next level by purchasing a major portion of equity in the company.
Educational Innovation: Another innovation that can be taken is setting up a School of Sustainability which can actively educate in the sustainability and circular economy model being practised locally. The school can create certain residential programs for university students which in turn not only educate the students but also generate substantial revenue and volunteers support for the initiatives of the Ecovillage. This model is also very feasible and GEV has established a Govardhan School of Sustainability (GSOS) in its campus where in it has tied up with some of the top international universities in the world like Princeton University, Indiana University, Notre Dam University etc. (https://www.ecovillage.org.in/sustainability/) GSOS offers residential programs like The Study Abroad Program (SAP), India Cultural and Ecology Immersion Program (ICEI), India Cultural Immersion Program (ICIP) and Transformation of Hearts (TOH) Program. GEV is also in the process of setting up University of Sustainability and Rural Livelihood in affiliation with the Mumbai University, Government of Maharashtra, India. This will further give GEV the credibility to offer credit based courses in sustainability to the oversees students who can they stay in Ecovillage for an entire semester and do research projects on various sustainability projects at GEV.
The Ecovillage concept has been in operation 9 years and has helped 50 tribal villages touching the lives of over 1100+ farmers. The above data mentioned in the application was slightly old and hence we have corrected that in the application as well
Ans: There are certain critical factors to be considered in replication. One of them is that the success of Govardhan ecovillage was mainly due to the strong determination of the leadership and along with that an equally determined team to implement the vision of the project. Govardhan Ecovillage (GEV) is a branch of the faith-based organization “International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON)” which has many branches including in Nepal and Bangladesh. The theological basis of ISKCON lies in Gaudiya Vaishnavism which is both an Earth-honoring faith and a tradition that deeply strives to live up to the ecological integrity prescribed in its fundamental teachings and praxis. Hence one of the first things to implement this proposal would be to get the buy in of local leadership in those places to implement this project and that is full possible in this case as this is one of the main objectives of the ISKCON organization. Following this the manpower to support the project can be managed from the local community there. Raising funds to get land, to set up green technologies and doing rural development might be difficult as the local congregation in those places may not be like what he had here in India. However, using the GEV project as a model, we hope to attract investors and donors to invest funds in building this project atleast in initial stages. As mentioned above, successful business models can come out of this project which will make it sustainable in long run.
Another critical factor of success is to get in the buy in of the indigenous groups. They respect nature but hesitate to accept scientific advancements due to the conception of it exploiting nature. In case of GEV, the execution team comprised of monks and other community members practising spirituality. The indigenous groups could easily trust them and accord them with high respect due to the similarity in faith concept with respect to nature. Hence, in the rural development program, the monks spearheaded the outreach to the tribal families and also provided training in the various components of the model. Same approach can lead to success in Nepal and Bangladesh as well.
Also the GEV team comprises of highly educated monks who are graduates from various scientific fields eg. Metallurgical Engineering, Ceramic Engineering, Physics, etc. With the expertise of the monks from the variegated fields, the circular economy concept of GEV was established. Thus, all components of the project (Organic Farming, Soil Biotechnology, etc) are administered by the monks from GEV. Hence, the monks are well versed with the scientific aspects as well as the spiritual aspects of the ecosystems. Over a period of time, the GEV team has developed various courses on various phases of creating an ecovillage model and are in a position to train people. Furthermore, they can also visit the places and can guide in an advisory capacity for the smooth progress of the project in the local area.
3. Though the proposal is titled as ecosystem management for healthy landscapes and people, there is very little in it about the ecosystems in the area and what interventions will be applied to address ecosystem management. What are the specific interventions for ecosystems? And how do these interact with symbiotic recycling? While highlighting the benefits of symbiotic recycling for society, how does this benefit ecosystems?
Ans: GEV is located in a rural area at the foot hills of the Sahyadris mountain ranges and lies between the hill Kohoj Gad and the river Vaitarna. The site is undulating with prominent ridges and valleys and is a habitat for biodiversity. In terms of agriculture, initially, paddy was grown in the valley areas. The valleys with black cotton soil also formed the drainage for the rainwater. These productive landscapes composed of rangelands,farms, fields, hill areas, freshwater bodies, wetlands, etc interact with agriculture, energy production, food security and water. Poor management of these will have a direct negative impact on all ecosystems through land degradation, pollution by agriculture run-off into the freshwater ecosystems, habitat conversions for expanded land use, disruption of hydrological cycles, water extraction, nutrient depletion, loss of biodiversity, loss of livelihoods etc.
Due to this, GEV supports ecosystem-based interventions that integrate human health, gender equity, economic profitability, environmental health, biodiversity etc. The Symbiotic Model is an ecosystem-based management model for integrated natural resource management as well as integrated water and soil fertility management. It is supported by interventions of conservation agriculture, on-farm diversification, small-scale irrigation schemes, erosion control, and water harvesting, etc