As we develop food forests and local ecology, it is clear that it cannot be self sustainable in human world if the lost layer of traditional and ecological products is also not revived.
Hence for each developing food forest, we plan products that can be used by all. It is a win win for ecology, local economy and the consumers looking for healthier and natural products with full traceability.
The potential is mind boggling across food, medicinal, cosmetic and household items. To list a few : Mahua products ; Herbal teas, Himalayan flowers like Burhans and Malta, Natural vinegars, Loofahs, natural soaps, Shikakai shampoos, etc etc.
A few live efforts in place are:
Our first trial was to hand grout/ process about 100 tonnes of food forest grown pristine quality toor. Instead of selling it to middlemen and mills, a process that will spoil the natural food qualities, we stone grouted and gave directly to those who relish.
This also generates employment for our village folks where we are present, and also helps us accelerate creating food forests.
Next in the same area was making vetiver products. Vetiver grass is essential for soil restoration and binding in our food forests. That lead to preparation of Vetiver water bags, meticulosly prepared with vetiver roots (no powder or essence).
We also have lots of raw turmeric in our central India food forests. In collaboration with a natural soap expert, Best possible pristine soap has been made with raw turmeric and many other ingredients from our forests year round , and by training the women in this remote village.The same women have once worked on creating forests and then planted lots on turmeric and other lower layers.
For preserving and restoring fruit based recipes, we had started with the Mango pickle, and a lady with deep love for the generations of passed down Art of All natural ingredient pickles and no preservatives.
In addition, we have also promoted livelihood ideas that come up from villages where we work. UBA-IITK is enabling the women enterprise and supported them with Mask making project, which Aranyaani also helped to connect to market.
Such encouragements become a starting point for future. As we discuss native skills and products around local ecology, then they see its opening up a new world.
All our projects are collaborative. Anyone with passion about a natural product can discuss with us and we can work backward all the way to growing the ecosystem for the product.