A teacher with a passion for farming
An inspiring story of Shilpa Joshi (Khyaal Community Member)
“I was born in Raipur and was brought up in Mumbai. My mother was also a teacher and I was brought up in a very different manner. I was introduced to a lot of activities like dancing, swimming and painting when I was very young. I always stood first in my class and was brilliant in maths.
I completed my B.Sc. honours in botany and chemistry. Soon after my graduation I got married in the year 1970. My husband was a police officer and used to get posted in various places. When I had my children, I chose to enter the field of teaching and left my role as a Dietitian at Breach Candy hospital. I got placements in different schools wherever we shifted. I worked in Nagpur, Aurangabad, Kolhapur and in the end I retired as a principal from Father Agnel school. I served at Father Agnel technical school & college for 19 years and retired in 2008.
I always had a passion for teaching; especially mathematics and sciences. I loved to do scientific experiments, train the students for science exhibitions among many other activities that the school used to conduct. At the same time I developed a passion for gardening.
As time passed; my love for gardening grew even more. In the year 1988, I started Shilpa's Orchards at Chirner, Ransai. I took up a project for the welfare of farmers and others associated with farming. I formed a farmers group along with my friend who was an agriculture officer called "Farm to Home" where farmers were encouraged to sell directly to the customers and reap the benefits from the sale of the produce without any middlemen. Currently “Farm to Home” is active in Navi Mumbai and my aim is to get them in Mumbai as well. I have also been practicing urban farming and conducting workshops along with one of my students.
The local natives help me and my children take care of the farm and the plants. I am also associated with many agricultural professionals and social service bodies who work among the natives. We have coconuts, black pepper, cinnamon, turmeric, papaya, vegetables and at present we have a full fledged mango orchard, with about 500 mango trees. I also make pickles of fresh raw mangoes grown on my farm and sell them. The farm also has a pisciculture pond where you can see geese swimming and buffaloes. We also want to create a place for our guests, friends, visitors to learn and enjoy farming and also have workshops for school children.
Additionally I am actively involved in "Vikel te Pikel" initiative wherein we do experimental farming. My main objective is to grow the farmers movement and conduct educational programs for them. I look forward to developing my farm and making it a tourist spot. I would also like to invite people to my farm and try farming. Lastly my message for all my fellow seniors is that farming is the best & soothing activity to engage yourselves.” - Shilpa Joshi (Khyaal Community Member)