The story of our Polam family farm began in 2015 with the goal to escape from the rush of chaotic city life into a safe haven of nature. This set our family on a journey of building a home to provide food, shelter, and community for all our human friends while regenerating native habitats for the natural biodiversity of our land to thrive along with us.
While exploring a variety of natural farming practices we discovered our lovely soon to be friends Narsanna and Padma Koppula. One visit to the couple’s Permaculture farm had us convinced to adopt the ethics and knowledge that helped reforest a barren landscape into a symbol of possibility for humans & nature.
Before Polam’s establishment, a few trees existed, soil health was depleted, birds and animals were rare to find. Within two years of practicing Permaculture, we witnessed an increase in plant survival rates from 10% to 40% proving the transformation of our soil and quality of our seeds.
During dry spells, Polam has become a lone oasis of biodiversity for plants and animals to enjoy the thriving ecosystem of our land. An abundance of native species have now become regulars finally making our dream of a home in harmony with nature come true.
In 2017 we had the honor to host the 13th International Permaculture Convergence here at our farm. We had over 500 visitors from 59 countries around the world who gathered to help us grow food, develop our farm, and collaborate to build a global community of Permaculturists who share our mission to make a positive impact on our planet.
Today three generations of the family follow the lead of the mother-daughter duo Supriya and Tripthi to operate the 100-acre farm. Both Supriya & Tripthi are trained Permaculturists with inherent empathy for community and nature, consistent with the rest of the family. Both women come from design backgrounds and collaborate efforts to manage the land and all its patrons while inviting everyone to come share knowledge, seeds, and memories in our story.
Polam’s family would be incomplete without the community members from the surrounding villages who are regularly part of our team. We are also happy to be able to welcome visitors and volunteers from around the world all of whom have helped us build Polam into the special home it is for us today.
Cows & chicken are our heroes, an integral part of our agriculture system. Cows are left for open grazing during the day and fed sufficient protein in the nights. While we share excess milk and eggs with Polam family and members, cow dung is our major source of soil nutrition. Dung is used to make heaps of compost which is used in our vegetable gardens, crop fields and fruit orchards. We also use cow dung to generate biogas for cooking activities and the residue is used directly as compost.
Here we grow vegetables not only for our family but also for Polam members and visitors. The vegetable garden is spread over an acre divided into 2 patches. One led by our grandmothers who enjoy growing food the traditional way. The other is an initiative with permaculture methods: placed strategically in the farm, keeping in mind the wind directions, water flows, quality of soil and access to east sun light. Surrounded by windbreaks and fence plants, mixed with natural pest repellants & attractors, our garden flourishes every season with excess produce.
At Polam we only grow native crops over 30 acres using intercropping methods to ensure soil fertility. A range of Kharif and Rabi crops such as millets, pulses, oil seeds and animal fodder are grown seasonally. 20 acres is allotted particularly for fodder.
The ultimate goal of our permaculture farm is building a perennial food forest – A place that provides sufficient food and livelihood for our community of people, animals and birds while keeping soil health intact. Although heavy clay soils at Polam have been highly challenging to work with, we ve come a long way in repairing our soils using guilds or 7 layer plantation techniques in small patches every year.