Beejvan is a farmer-led community based initiative in the tribal village of Khanand, in Karjat, Maharashtra India. Beej means Seed; Van means Forest. Seeds are representative of life; and forests of spaces that nourish and help life thrive.
As a farming community, Beejvan aims to promote 3 basic ideas and principles of Permaculture– Earth Care, People Care, Fair Share– through its seed conservation, regeneration and livelihood projects, securing food and nutrition security. Thakars, the local inhabitants of Karjat are traditional herbalists and healers. Khanand has 100 households and a population of 500. We are small and marginal farmers who cultivate on the hills, across river beds and rely on minor forest produce for a living.
Over the last two decades the aspiration to be urbanised came at the cost of losing traditional wisdom and cultural heritage. This has led to a never-ending cycle of poverty. Beejvan’s founders returned to Karjat after two decades and saw modern agricultural practices and deforestation had led to depleted soils and crop failure in the place they loved as a child, and the idea for Beejvan emerged.
Central to Beejvans vision is reviving the practice of tree-based farming, seed saving, multiple livelihoods, securing food/nutrition for the farmer. It aims to create local, scalable solutions to transform villages into biodiversity hotspots and respond to the climate crisis in viable ways, while also addressing health and inequalities at the local level. Beejvan aims to build the first community nursery by 2024, and seed bank of native species by 2025.