Our story is one of adventure, grit, and perseverance. In 2010 when we learned about permaculture for the first time, something told us that we needed to do this. Within a few weeks, we found land near Chandigarh (our home town) and got started! Even though we lived in Mumbai, and had busy corporate jobs, it didn’t deter us from pursuing a long-distance project. Instead, we found new energy and purpose in our lives, reading-researching-executing permaculture principles into action!
We started with a barren piece of land, and over time planted over 5000 trees, built water harvesting structures, and rejuvenated the soil back to health. We spent most of our holidays and long weekends on this land, working with it and enjoying the reconnection with nature. The contrast to the overpopulated metropolis of Mumbai was jarring, and in 2016 we relocated to Gurgaon, with an aim to be closer to the farm and enjoy more of the homegrown produce.
We thought long and hard about what to name the farm. We wanted a name that captured the emotion and feeling we got in this space. It was sheer bliss, and so we called it Aanandaa.
(from left to right) Agam, Ira, Radha and Manisha in 2012
(from left to right) Sohan, Mahinder, Jaipal, Kagu, Bholi and Panditji
Aanandaa is run by Manisha, Agam, Radha, and Ira along with a competent team led by Keshoram (Panditji) - Jaipal, Sohan, Mahinder, Sunil, Kagu and Bholi who work tirelessly to translate our plans into reality. Manisha is a certified Permaculture Designer and Teacher. She does all the designing and planning, runs the nursery and the plantation calendar, manages the seed bank, and ensures the produce is harvested, processed, and stored appropriately. She also runs the Introduction to Permaculture training session and is our resident beekeeper.
Agam has finally put his engineering degree to good use, managing all the infrastructure at Aanandaa! He ensures the electricity, water, fencing, bills - everything is always working. Radha is a social media marketing expert who runs FB, IG, and YT channels. Ira is the techie who designs and manages this website! A family that runs a permaculture project together, stays together! :)
We often walk around Aanandaa in awe, wondering how we managed to pull off a feat like this. The only way we can explain it is that a superior force has guided our hand, and made us the conduit to fulfill its mission. We hope more people around us allow themselves to be guided in this manner.