On the bank of the Saraswati and bordering the Gir Reserve Forest in Gujarat, Wild Jai Farm coexists with the flora and fauna of the region; leopards, Asiatic lions, and other forms of wildlife often pass through the 53-acre expanse. In the adjoining orchard, seven varieties of indigenous mangoes, chikoos, and coconuts are grown.
Jahan Jhala, along with Mallika Chandra, oversees operations at this seven-decade-old farmland, passed down to him by his great-grandfather Banesinhji Jhala. The former industrial and creative designers are now committed to the science of permaculture and the practices of biodynamic farming. This means that waste generated on the farm—food, human, animal—are composted and fed back to land.
The Locavore Bite
TL Bite offers a glimpse into how a partner producer runs their operations, and reflects their core principles and values. The idea is to provide insights into their practices and highlight their positive efforts descriptively. We have identified seven key areas of assessment – origin and source of ingredients, composition and integrity of the products, workforce policies, production practices, community-related initiatives, approach towards preserving or celebrating traditional knowledge and the materials used in packaging. While this assessment may not be entirely comprehensive, we hope it helps you make an informed decision about why you might want to support them, and the ways in which to.
The information below offers you a snapshot of where Wild Jai Farm stands on these parameters. We have put this together based on several rounds of conversation with Jahan Jhala and Mallika Chandra, the team at Wild Jai Farm. Click on a piece of the pie below to find out more.
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Why We Love Wild Jai Farm
- Spotlighting indigenous varieties – Wild Jai Farm works with traditional seed varieties of vegetables (for personal consumption) and fruit (for commercial use), helping turn the tide against increasing yields to meet consumer demand. While the GI-tagged Gir Kesar is considered ‘the queen of mangoes’ in Gujarat, several other varieties grown at the farm are not commercial favourites, and yet are harvested year after year to retain them on the larger mango scene.
- Fostering a biodiverse environment – Jahan and Mallika are working towards creating a regenerative system by allowing natural cultivation and harvest cycles to take over. Not bordered by fences, Wild Jai Farm nurtures multi-species interaction with langurs, antelopes and wild boars, to name a few.
- Self-sustaining farming practices – Omitting the need to use fertilisers procured from elsewhere, the farm follows a closed-loop method: all organic waste generated there is reintroduced into the soil as compost.
- Staggered harvest – By only picking fruits that are close to ripening, Wild Jai Farm trains their team to only harvest ready-to-pick fruits as opposed to commercial harvesters who wipe out entire trees. These staggered harvests are dispatched for orders picked a day prior, or on the day of dispatch. Wild Jai Farm aspires to reduce food miles by delivering produce to nearby regions. Having had time to mature on the tree, the fruit possesses a richer flavour as well.
What inspired you to practice biodynamic farming? What does the term mean to you?
“Biodynamic farms are community farms which encourage active participation with locals in the vicinity, along with interactions with the region’s flora and fauna. From a sustainability perspective, I was looking for a way of farming which went beyond the organic template, and addressed the loss of biodiversity. One of the key aspects of a biodynamic farm is also its proximity to a wild and natural environment.
Since moving to the farm at the end of 2019, I have been working on combining biodynamic farming with permaculture as they have a lot of commonalities and crossovers. Both have strong principles for biodiversity, and work towards a closed circular system where the ‘inputs’ of the farm are from potential waste ‘outputs’. By following natural cycles, a biodynamic farmer’s goal is to put life forces (prana) into food so that human beings can be nourished, and become the best versions of themselves.”
— Jahan Jhala, Partner at Wild Jai Farm
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If you would like to learn more about Wild Jai Farm, or try their products, check out their social media. If you’re interested in supporting them in other ways, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
At The Locavore, we strive to keep the practices of a producer transparent and honest across all forms of partnerships.