The journey of our first self-help group fully funded by the TGG Foundation started in late 2015 with the participation of 3 women from the farming community in Wayanad assuming collective responsibility. They started their livelihood creation with a stitching unit and a farm under organic conversion with the financial support and guidance extended by TGG Foundation with minimum wage support and free lunch. On I st April 2017 the first self-help group of women was constituted with a 5 member team registered with TGG Foundation and the group was named “Navajyothi (Kerala)”. Subsequently, necessary licenses and permissions were taken to start various revenue-generating activities. After hand-holding for over a period of 36 months, the SHG was put on a self-sustainable mode and the trust focused on creating new revenue vertical to provide better income and more livelihood opportunities, however due to lack of collective responsibility there were dropout in the team which was followed by the resignation of the Group Head. Subsequently, Navajyothi (Kerala) was taken over by Sushama Harikumar who was the Financial Coordinator of the group managing the activities of The Green Gardens Farm. As part of the troubleshooting exercise carried out by the TGG Foundation, recommendations were made to amend Navajyothi (Kerala) by-law to make it more responsible and accountable and the amended by-law was approved by TGG Foundation, Sushama is made the permanent Group Head of Navajyothi (Kerala) under TGG Livelihood Mission with full-time work opportunity. The code of conduct is monitored by the Ethics committee of the TGG Foundation. This reform has ensured greater accountability, responsibility, and sustainability. She has now engaged more women members on minimum support wages based on the workflow. The women’s group now produces an exclusive variety of Chemical Free, handcrafted food items like tea, coffee, pepper, avocados and vegetables (most of them are LIMITED EDITIONS due to the fact that it comes from one single garden which is ethically created as food for consumption and not as a commodity).
In 2014, TGG Foundation took over the maintenance of The Green Gardens Farm in Wayanad, Kerala, and has started working towards sustainability. Our vision was to transform the farm into a zero chemical, zero waste, zero budget project that empowers the rural community and provides a venue for urban youths to understand sustainability practices. One of our core focus has been ethical green tea production using the traditional method. We have developed an in-house technique using best energy conservation practices and by choosing to hand pluck and handcraft the fresh green leaves, we have created significant improvement in livelihood creation through stakeholder engagement, ensuring gender equality wages, better work satisfaction, and sustainable development leading to the production of ethical premium green tea.
The USPs of our tea are: 100% chemical-free, from an ahimsa farm following ethical agriculture practices, tea leaves are hand-plucked & hand processed by the permanent members who work at the farm round the year. The handcrafting of the tea is done by people with passion and dedication, the leaves come from a single garden and are processed within the garden freshly retaining its aroma.
In 2018, Navajyoti (Kerala), the self-help group supported by TGG Foundation, has turned their hands to make, pure cold pressed ‘Virgin Coconut Oil’ using a manual process.
Since the oil is not processed through direct heating and is separated from fresh coconuts with an alternate procedure of extraction, virgin coconut oil is unquestionably more extravagant in benefits than normal coconut oil. It has got high content of vitamin E and cancer prevention agents which makes it suitable for raw consumption. The durability of virgin coconut oil is long and therefore it doesn’t go foul that easily. As the oil is rich in Lauric acid, a component that is found in breast milk, it proves good for one’s health.
“Annad bhavanti bhootani” – These are the words of Sri Krishna in the Bhagvat Gita. It means that all creation is sustained due to food. Helping to assuage a person’s hunger will win you good karmas. It is an equally important deed to feed the animals and plants of the creation as well.
People who opt for sustainable living practice / Experience are offered homely food at the Green Gardens farm. Freshly prepared food using vegetables, dairy, and eggs produced in-house is served to the guests by NAVAJYOTHI (Kerala) at a subsidized rate. Cooking classes for interested guests are conducted on request.
TGG Foundation started the Livestock unit as part of its sustainable living practice project at The Green Gardens, an Ahimsa Farm in Wayanad, Kerala for livelihood and obtaining organic manure which supports the ethical farming practices at the farm in addition to products such as milk, eggs, etc derived through this activity. During the last 3 years of operations, the livestock unit has undergone many corrections and modifications to improve the efficiency and sustainability of the farm. The number of livestock maintained is now in accordance with the sustainability of the farm, thereby creating a harmonious ecosystem for livestock, farm, and the people that are managing it. The stocks are now handed over to Navajyothi (Kerala) and they manage it well for creating additional livelihood.