K. RAGHVENDRA RAO
Rainwater harvesting – in rural and urban ecosystems
Edible landscaping – creating “climate smart”, resilient and sustainable food production systems based on ecological principles
Market gardening – establishing “certified organic” farms to grow safe food
Intelligent afforestation – restoring degraded landscapes with indigenous plant species
Rural development – building self - sufficient rural communities.
My current interest is to live with as minimal a “carbon footprint” as possible. I harvest and conserve the rainwater that falls on my dwelling and use it to grow vegetables and herbs for my consumption. I minimize the use of water and use all water used in my kitchen to water my vegetables, herbs and ornamentals. All organic waste produced in my kitchen is recycled with vermicomposting to generate high quality compost for my vegetables and herbs. I use only public transport or walk around as much as possible.
I talk about my small initiatives to other interested people and give them practical tips on how to lead a “low carbon” existence.
My other passion is to create sustainable food production systems using ecological principles. I consult for individuals, Organisations, Government and Non–Governmental bodies who have land and want to use it sensibly.
I teach at Bhoomi College, Bengaluru (www.bhoomicollege.org) and introduce concepts of organic/ecological agriculture as part of the module on “Food and Farming” conducted for the participants of the Science and Management for Sustainable Living.
In the past, I have been involved in managing activities at the following places:
- Dean, FES Prakriti Karyashala Rural College – I served as the Dean of Andhra Pradesh Campus of Prakriti Karyashala Rural College of the Foundation of Ecological Security.
- Ibex Gallagher, Bengaluru – I was Business Development Manager for Uttar Pradesh and Bihar and was promoting the use of solar powered electric fences to protect agricultural crops from wild herbivores.
- GREEN Foundation, Bengaluru – agro biodiversity conservation with rural communities.
- The OASIS @ Kuppam was my “certified organic” farm at Kuppam, Chittoor District, Andhra Pradesh in Southern India. Organic vegetables and fruits were produced on the farm and sold in “ready to retail” packaging to retail chains like Food World and Spencer’s.
- Rural Livelihoods Adviser for West Bengal state, Eastern India with the Department for International Development (DfID), New Delhi.
- National Farming Systems Expert for the FAO – NGO South Asia Program, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, New Delhi.
- Team Member (Technical) with the Agriculture Man Ecology Program which was a bilateral program of the Governments of the Netherlands and India.
- Training Associate – Plant Protection at the Krishi Vigyana Kendra (Farm Science Centre) of the Deccan Development Society, Zaheerabad, Medak District, Telangana. My colleagues and I treated the 6 Ha. campus as a micro watershed, complete with water harvesting contour bunds, gully plugs and mini percolation ponds and large water storage structures. We followed the “earth works” with planting 100,000 saplings of drought hardy, multi-purpose and nitrogen fixing tree, herb and shrub species. The area has now evolved into a food forest and supports a diversity of life forms and provides food, fodder, fibre, fruit, fuelwood and fertilizer.
- Principal Investigator in the Community Agrobiodiversity Conservation Programme at the M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation, Chennai.
- Project Officer (Ecological Research) at the Rishi Valley Education Center, Rishi Valley, Madanapalle, Chittoor District, Andhra Pradesh, Southern India.
I’ve contributed a few articles to the LEISA India Newsletter on water conservation and organic soil fertility management.