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Since our last newsletter of November 2009 there have been more encouraging developments at the CHATI farm in Tamil Nadu, India. Janet Bedford spent three months there, returning in February, and is writing this newsletter.

‘Once again I felt greatly privileged to be sharing something of the joys and also a little of the angst of the day-to-day life in the deeply rural area where our Trust is working. Travelling with me was Justin Grew, a horticultural graduate from UK. We stayed in the brick and tiled terraced multi-purpose building that has a kitchen at one end and a bathroom at the other. The bathroom has both a western style and an Indian style toilet. The water for showering and for flushing the toilet is brought in buckets from the well and ladled to where it is needed. The used shower water goes directly out through a hole in the wall at ground level, so a very simple water harvesting technique is to have plants growing right there, catching every drop without any extra effort from man, beast or machine.

Here are tomatoes and marigolds flourishing in front of the bathroom.

We arrived after dark at the tail end of a rainy period, crossing the knee high river and along the extremely slippery clay track accompanied by caring neighbours with lanterns, wind-up torch and cell phone beams. Next morning revealed the heart-warming change wrought during my two years absence. Now trees, paddy, lentils, cotton, various vegetables, medicinal herbs and flowers were flourishing in the two-acre parcel of land we call the Mother Field (around the buildings) and also in the adjacent two and a half acre plot. The distant one and a half acres had been mostly planted with bamboo. The remaining parcel of land was awaiting the percolation pond before being developed.

That morning Xavier showed us the trees he had chosen for people who have gifted them and we put the sponsors name label by each one.


Xavier with the tree labels


Mango tree



Nava Maram (Tamil)



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