To tackle climate change, Food forest is the only option which also ensures food security and reduces crop loss due to natural disasters. New age farmers are moving to develop food forest as it has got solutions to many practical problems in conventional agriculture. 

A food forest is a diverse planting of edible plants that attempts to mimic the ecosystems and patterns found in nature. Food forests are three dimensional designs, with life extending in all directions – up, down, and out.

Food forests are designed to mimic natural forests and usually have seven layers: a canopy layer of tall fruit and nut trees, a sub-canopy layer of dwarf trees, a shrub layer of fruit bushes, a herbaceous layer, a ground cover, a rhizosphere layer of root crops and a vertical layer of vines.

We suggest conventional farmers to develop food forest in part of their land. Advantages we see are:

  1. Conservation of Bio-diversity
  2. Climate resilient farming
  3. Food available all thru the year
  4. Less maintenance expenses
  5. Functions as efficient carbon sink


Before going into CMP, let’s see the problems in regular cultivation model:

  • lack of labour force 
  • decreasing underground water table
  • deficit and unseasonal rainfall
  • low price for the produce cultivated
  • change in climate conditions
  • electricity woes
  • middle men fee
  • fertilizer issues


In India, between year 2000 and 2009, 80 lakhs families had quit Agriculture as their profession. 

Instead of regular food crops, farmers are moving to various other cultivations such as Timber trees, fruit bearing trees, medicinal plants, coconut trees and bio fuel crops which need less maintenance and labour. Major food crops production is getting declined. Food prices are going higher. Cost of Rice, Pulses, Milk, Sugar, Egg, Vegetables, etc. are already shot up. This’ll happen to other items also in the near future. 

If the cultivation of food crops still goes down, where will we go for food? We can import from other countries. If the other country may also face similar issues and stops export to us, then? Hence thinking on the alternative lines will bring some light to this big issue. One such idea is CMP.

Critical mass production (CMP), the term is coined to express that the situation is very critical and production should be done by masses instead of trying mass production.

We all know what mass production is! If we need to produce 1000 kgs of mushroom every day, you need to find out a place, make infrastructure, need employees & labours, capital, time & effort, etc. This is mass production since we intend to produce a large quantity of 365 tonnes mushroom every year. Now let’s look at CMP model. Instead of producing it under a single head, we spread it across 500 individual households where there is a need for improving their livelihood. Now an individual household should produce 2 kgs mushroom every day which leads to 1000kgs harvest. 

A SHG model can be developed and training can be given in production, procurement, marketing and sales. Here the benefits being less money, minimum infrastructure, less time, no labours and less effort. This also can extend to form a social entrepreneurship model. 

Instead of mushroom, we can also produce other food items. It could be a timber tree to reduce deforestation, or a food crop like Drumstick, Lemon, Papaya, Amla to feed the growing population with nutritive food and to meet out the decreasing food cultivation, or a bio fuel tree like Punnai, Pungan to meet the energy needs or livestock development, backyard poultry etc.  

The idea is to make every individual to utilize the space in their household for production so that we can shoulder some responsibility of the great farmers who really feed us every day. 

As a pilot model, we had planted 2400 saplings in the front space and backyards of 600 households across 4 villages in Kanchipuram district. The survival ratio of saplings is 77% after one year. Our plan is to duplicate this model to all the villages in Tiruvallur and Kanchipuram districts.


Increasing Green cover is one of the significant ways to tackle climate change. Other than regular afforestation work by the government, communities should start planting trees in a large scale. To make it possible, they should have their own plant nurseries so that cost of plants will be less. Also it is easy to develop plants from locally available seeds. Seed collection will also become a main activity for the kids. 

We intend to include women in nursery management as it increases the chances of learned better practices getting passed on to the next generation. The skills they learn not only add value to their ‘knowledge bank’ of survival skills but also increase the scope for income generation. 

Plants developed in these community nurseries could be nurtured in the community’s farmlands or common places in the villages. Or it can be sold to Panchayat or an industry for its tree planting drives. Nursery will become a local source for people, who would like to develop food forest or to try miyawaki method of foresting in the neighborhood. 

We are in the process of developing community nurseries across Tamilnadu by partnering with community based organisations.


Communities should get training to learn how reducing, reusing, and recycling can help us, our community and the environment by saving money, energy and natural resources. 

The most effective way to reduce waste is to not create it in the first place. Making a new product requires a lot of materials and energy - raw materials must be extracted from the earth, and the product must be fabricated then transported to wherever it will be sold. As a result, reduction and reuse are the most effective ways you can save natural resources, protect the environment and save money.

The idea of Minimalism is picking up among the eco-conscious people. When you live as a minimalist, you strive to only use things that serve a purpose. It's about living simply and having only what you need to go about your daily life. For instance, some people may start a no-spend challenge or only fill their home with items they absolutely need.

In our office at Chennai, the furniture, desktop and laptop, printer, display shelf and book shelf are all used ones. We didn’t buy anything new to set up the office space!



In all the climate change work, a high priority item to work on is finding ways to produce clean energy at affordable cost. 

Hydroelectric power is the cheapest because the infrastructure has been in place for a long time, and it produces electricity consistently. In general the price of renewable energy is dropping because the demand is increasing. This increased demand triggers a spiral in which demand continues to rise; companies can afford to sell it for less, which further drives up demand, and so on.

There’s also the financial element of energy resources to consider. While environmental sustainability is the primary factor that makes renewables attractive to the average consumer, it’s the money that draws in corporations and governments. If a governmental body believes that its country will prosper financially over the next few decades, it will see renewables as a worthwhile investment.

Focus on R&D is the key for future low cost clean energy. We see it as a challenging opportunity for investors and entrepreneurs. 



Governance is most effective when these processes are participatory, accountable, transparent, efficient, inclusive, and respect the rule of law. Good governance is particularly important at local level, where governments interact with citizens and communities on a daily basis.

The objective was to create local institutions that were democratic, autonomous, financially strong, and capable of formulating and implementing plans for their respective areas and providing decentralised administration to the people. It is based on the notion that people need to have a say in decisions that affect their lives and local problems are best solved by local solutions.

Change brought out of hard work can be sustained by good local governance team. Rural development should be made efficiently by joining hands with the Village Panchayats.



The Community Based Environment Development Program (CBED) is a continuous program from the financial year 2002-03, funded by the Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA). This Program invites proposals from the Urban Local Bodies to implement projects that would help in improving the Environment. The main thrust of the program is to involve the local community in the environmental development projects, right from the start. 

The local body convenes meetings with the resident welfare associations, communities or community based organizations etc., in identifying the problems, prioritizing the issues and formulating feasible projects. The officials and the elected representatives of the Village Panchayats have good rapport with the resident welfare organisations. People’s views and needs were always given due consideration. This trend paved way for the residents and ward members to join hands with the officials to formulate a feasible and workable proposal. 

CBED project has a cost sharing arrangement wherein, CMDA would contribute 80%, the local body 10% and the local community 10% of the total project cost. This is a welcome approach by CMDA to develop local capacity building to identify and prioritize projects that are needed for better environmental management , formulate and implement the project and to raise funds so that there is a spirit of ownership of the project by the local community.

We had extended our support to the Panchayat team in documenting the project and to a certain extent in communication too. We have covered Chitlapakkam, Pallikaranai, Peerkankaranai, Perunkalathur, Mangadu, Manapakkam, Mugalivakkam and Moulivakkam panchayats in the outskirts of Chennai city.


Environmentally-friendly buildings are structures that are resource-efficient throughout their life-cycle, throughout the processes of design, construction, operation, maintenance, renovation, and eventual demolition. Environmental or “green” buildings are more than just a passing trend. They represent a paradigm shift in the field of architecture and a more sustainable way to secure the future of urbanization.

Although new environmentally-friendly building techniques are proposed and tested every year, they all share common objectives for reducing their overall impact on human health and nature. Eco-friendly buildings should serve the following purposes:

  • Efficiently make use of air, water, and other resources 
  • Protect human health and improve productivity
  • Reduce pollution and waste
  • Save money on operational costs
  • Feature an aesthetically-pleasing design

We connect eco-friendly architects with people and communities who would like to construct buildings closer to nature. Especially with architects who believe in Traditional knowledge and Vernacular architecture.