Padma Shri For Father-Daughter Who Transformed Wasteland Into A Forest

Radha Mohan and Sabarmatee used organic farming techniques to transform the wasteland into a "food forest".

Padma Shri For Father-Daughter Who Transformed Wasteland Into A Forest

Radha Mohan and Sabarmatee have been conferred with the Padma Shri.

Radha Mohan and Sabarmatee, a father-daughter duo from Odisha, have been conferred with India's fourth highest civilian honour - the Padma Shri - for their work in agriculture. The Gandhian father-daughter duo is credited with transforming a degraded piece of land into a vast "food forest" using only organic techniques.

According to Business Today, Sabarmatee and her father, a retired Economics professor, wanted to rejuvenate wasteland using organic farming. In 1988, they bought a piece of degraded land in the interiors of Nayagarh district, Odisha, despite warnings that it would not yield anything.

"We accepted the challenge and stayed committed to the cause. We call our journey Sambhav, from the impossible to the possible," said Sabarmatee.

Today, that one acre of land has been transformed into a 90-acre forest that houses over 1,000 species of plants, three rainwater harvesting ponds, and 500 varieties of rice. This feat was achieved using soil and water conservation methods

Radha Mohan and Sabarmatee also started Sambhav as a resource center for farmers across the country to learn organic farming techniques and exchange seeds. Sambad News reports that Sambhav has successfully grown many vanishing food crops such as clove bean, jack bean, black rice and sword bean.

Union Minister Piyush Goyal praised Radha Mohan and Sabarmatee as two of the "unsung heroes" who are "truly deserving of the Padma Shri award" in a video tribute that included awardees like social worker Usha Chaumar and doctor Ravi Kannan.

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