What was the impetus behind starting BeForest?In the past few decades, both farming practices, as well as the value of doing it, have degraded. In the recent past, however, a lot many have started getting curious and interested in farming once again. Many have even bought pieces of farmland, and over weekends tried to take time out to try their hand at it. Some folks have succeeded and made it work, but for most, life and work start to eat up most available time, and the farm does not sustain after a couple of initial years of enthusiasm. It’s also a little expensive to have a caretaker stay on and manage a 2-3 acre farm – both the manpower and the basic inputs and infrastructure easily need a few lakhs a year at the very least.
We saw this problem repeat again and again and decided to solve it. Farming Collectives are our way to try and solve this problem.
"We use principles of permaculture to try and restore the soil and the ecosystem. This practice leads to better water management and improves the water situation, needing almost no irrigation over time."
How are these acres of land converted into food forests?Across the world, and especially in India, the soil has degraded with "modern" farming practices. The soil quality has worsened dramatically in the industrial age. The basic idea is to reverse this impact and improve soil health which then sustains abundance on it almost perpetually, with little human input. We use principles of permaculture to try and restore the soil and the ecosystem. This practice leads to better water management and improves the water situation, needing almost no irrigation over time. A forest by definition is very diverse and produces a variety of things. We attempt to work with nature and produce a lot of variety. We take care of the seasonality and work with multiple layers of the forest.
In the wake of the climate crisis, how can these food forests contribute to alleviating the situation?Forests and good soil are the biggest potential sink for carbon. They're natural shock absorbers and can manage their ecosystem - temperature, moisture, soil quality and more - better than most humans. Diversity in food and flora helps avoid a collapse of food systems, supports a larger variety of insect and animal life and hence, helps us. This is how the planet became habitable and supported such a variety of life forms. Over the last couple of hundred years, we took this for granted and lost much of it, and need to get this back.
How do you think BeForest can fit in the holiday rental/vacation homes spectrum?As people realise how essential nature is to our physical health, mental health and to our very existence, we and our hospitality partners, Linger, have seen people choose options that are closer to nature. Beforest farms are an excellent place for this reason. One can also learn about natural food systems, regenerative agroforestry and permaculture. We believe this is something that more and more people will start to look for as they experience the real world.
"The buildings, restricted to a tiny corner of the large farms are made of natural materials, blending in with the landscape. A few days spent here would be a complete immersion in nature, a reconnect with the real world and of course, great naturally sourced, organic food!"
What kind of experience can people expect at a BeForest property?Over 70% of the farms will be a forest. The land retains a lot of water. The terrain is natural, with natural contours undisturbed - this automatically makes it a beautiful place. Add to it the most diverse flora and fauna for miles around - great for wildlife, birding, insects, butterflies and more. The buildings, restricted to a tiny corner of the large farms (typically 75-100+ acres) are made of natural materials, blending in with the landscape. A few days spent here would be a complete immersion in nature, a reconnect with the real world and of course, great naturally sourced, organic food!
Will BeForest continue in assisting these farmhouses once they are occupied? If yes, then how?We're committing to run and manage the farms for at least ten years. Linger will run the homestays there, including member-homes that are available for this.
If you could describe the mission of BeForest in three terms, what would they be?Resilient, abundant food-forests
BeForest encourages people to live sustainably. Do you have any tips for people to travel sustainably?Linger's philosophy on responsible travel covers more than just sustainability! Read Here for Tips
What do you think about BeForest's initiative? Have you visited their sustainable farmhouses? Let us know in the comments below!