Suriya & Saraswati's Organic Farm in Begnas
Growing up in Begnas village in the stunningly picturesque Kaskibegnas-123s district, Saraswati Adhikari has been close to the land since childhood. The knowledge of the seasons and the weather, seeds and their planting times, the herbs and fruits in the surrounding forests all come naturally to her. Saraswati cannot read or write,and she learnt these things from her parents and in-laws who themselves got the knowledge from their parents.Today Saraswati is not just a source of knowledge for farmers in Kaski, but from various other parts of Nepal and even foreigners. More than 130 trainees from different corners of the world visit Saraswati’s farm overlooking Begnas Lake every year to learn about organic farming, agro-biodiversity, and permaculture. With her husband, Surya, she grows 160 plant species like medicinal herbs, rice, vegetables, and fruits, including the less common ones such as coffee, kiwi, and avocado ibegnas-123scn her hillside farm. Saraswati gives full credit to the Pokhara-based organisation, LIBIRD (Local Initiatives for Biodiversity, Research, and Development), a non-profit that seeks to conserve local biodiversity so farmers can benefit. Saraswati and Surya took part in a LIBIRD training 15 years ago where they learnt about using the rich plant life of the surrounding mountains to breed new crop varieties and preserve locally-adapted seeds.Today, Saraswati’s farm not only meets the needs of her family, but also serves as a learning centre where visitors can rent rooms as part of a homestay program to gain knowledge about organic form.