After 34 years of practice in law, Jayaram turned his passion for organic farming through four different ventures. With an organic farm in Nelamangala, a retail store and restaurant in Bengaluru and a homestay in Coorg, the 68- year-old is turning organic farming as a new promenade for ‘forgotten food’.Jayaram began his career assisting lawyers who had a legacy of successful cases. After being mentored by them, he eventually went on to starting his own firm and became a leading lawyer in the city for motor cases. The early success in his career meant financial stability, but Jayaram could not rest just yet.
In 1998, he took a bold career decision and quit his practice. He purchased an eight-acre plot in Nelamangala, which was then a eucalyptus grove. He cleared the entire space and converted the barren land into a space suitable for farming.Jayaram explains,We started with jowar and bajra. Though we initially used chemicals to grow them, it wasn’t too long before we realised that organic farming was just a step away. When my parents were into farming, none of these chemicals existed, so the shift wasn’t major for me.
Today, the same barren area has converted itself into a 40-acre full-fledged farm, with an artificial lake and a diary farm, employing 15 local farmers.The farm also houses a biogas plant where all the animal waste is converted into manure.Today’s India is looking for alternatives to unhealthy food since lifestyle diseases have been on the rise.There is a demand for healthy food, but the bridge between consumers and the market is yet to pan out, and this is where companies like The Green Path establish their existence. They act as a catalyst in connecting the farmers and the buyers.The Green Path’s retail store works with a lot of small-scale organic farmers and is a distributing unit for them.
On entering the digital market, Jayaram says,We are yet to explore the online market but we are working on a repository of active consumers who are more accessible considering we have a time constraint while dealing with fresh harvest.The firm also promotes organic tours in the country that leads to helping people replicate the same model as theirs. The majority of these tourists are from Sweden, Germany, and the UK,With a Rs 6-crore annual revenue, The Green Path today employs over 200 employees in all its four outlets (farm, retail store, restaurant, and a resort). Of these four different projects, the restaurant, which is only a year old has also gone on to win awards.
Benefits of organic farming for people who may be interested:
Organic farming is a low-investment-high return profile
Healthy forms of agriculture is actively promoted at every stage
Soil is replenished, and land damage is reduced compared to existing forms of farming
This farming type requires less water and yields more
Since organic food is in demand these days, one is assured of doing well with farming.
Jayaram will count himself successful only when he is able to reach his message of organic consumption, and influence people from all economic backgrounds to eat healthier.