#GoodNews: Chennai Designer Quits Job to Work For Organic Farmers

It was in October 2015 when Vishnu heard of farmer suicides and felt the urge to change how the system works.

2 min read
Hindi Female
It was in October 2015 when Vishnu heard of farmer suicides and felt the urge to change how the system works.

Just two years after he quit his job as an instructional designer at a multinational IT firm, Chennai-based Vishnu Vardhan is engineering a silent organic revolution in the state.

The 27-year-old has started a one of a kind rent-a-farm training programme for people interested in growing their own food in a bid to popularise organic farming.

Vishnu claims that learners will be able to not only recover their course fee at the end of the program but also earn more by selling their crops.

So How Did it All Start?

It was in October 2015 when Vishnu was working in Bengaluru that he came across the news of many farmers from Mandya committing suicide, and felt the urge to change how the system works.


Before quitting his job, he set up Indian Superheroes (ISH) - a collective of NGOs, Self-Help-Groups working with organic farming, which formed a co-operative for small organic farmers and engaged with inorganic farmers to convert them to what he calls zero-budget integrated organic farming.

What is Zero-Budget Integrated Organic Farming?

Vishnu says once a farm is free from inorganic pollutants like pesticides and inorganic fertilisers (using a method called mulching), farm waste, cow dung, cow urine and herbs can be used as manure. All of the components that you put into the soil will come from the farm itself so there will be absolutely no cost. It is zero-budget and you don't have to buy anything from outside except seeds.

The solution to eliminate middlemen and launch an exclusive organic marketplace kickstarted with the idea of building a website to sell the organic produce but Vishnu had to wait till he could ensure meeting the demand of the customers.

The website was finally launched in February 2017, one and a half years after he left his job.


Convincing Inorganic Farmers to Convert

But whenever you ask an inorganic farmer to change to organic, he will ask what happens to his income in the meanwhile. So, we tell them to grow spinach or other greens in a small patch of land to sustain themselves.

Once they start the process, whatever they do, it’s a profit for them, claims Vishnu.



“For example, if a coconut farmer has a coconut oil extraction unit, he can sell a litre of coconut oil for Rs 180 for every litre, before this he would give away his whole lot at a throwaway price to whoever was ready to take it. This has increased profits for the farmers in manifolds, “ Vishnu explains.

“This is how we solved most of the problems related to marketing,”

Other than that, ISH enables women entrepreneurs to make ornaments/ accessories from the farm produce itself.

(This story has been edited for length.)

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Topics:  Suicide   Chennai   Farmer 

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