Meet the guiding force behind the Annadata -Citizens movement for safe food. These individuals are the inspiration for the Organic food festival.
MSc in Physics from IIT Kharagpur; he was the man behind the 108 Emergency services project. He headed the initial stages of planning and implementation. 108 as an emergency number can be used for police, fire or ambulance. 108 aims to save lives of millions of humans by reaching help within 10 minutes. Andhra Pradesh Government started financing the project soon and Gujarat followed it next. Now this service is available in more than 20 states all over the country. He has already led a massive movement to save human lives and to join the Citizens movement for Safe food as a mentor was a natural progression as this is a preventive step to save many more lives.
Smt. Kalpana Salunkhe is Managing trustee of Gram Gourav Pratishthan, a charitable trust working for sustainable watershed development at village level. Enabling equitable distribution of water with community participation , popularly known as Paani Panchayat.. A social reformer in her own right .She is ably continuing the noble work of empowering the rural poor and enabling them to achieve their right to water and right to life.
Kalpanatai is an active member of organic Farmer’s study group having members from all over Maharashtra. The 10 acre area is experiment ground and has demo plots giving hands on training in organic farming.GGP is promoting organic farming practices in the vicinity villages .
Kalpanatai has fulfilled the dream of founder Late Shri Vilasrao Salunkhe. The farmers training centre at Khalad is working close with the farmer’s .
Arun Wakhlu is the Executive Chairman of Pragati Leadership Pune, India. He also heads the NGO Pragati Foundation (PF) dedicated to Sustainable Livelihoods. B. Tech from IIT Delhi and a PGDBA from IIM Ahmedabad; former member of the Tata Administrative Service; he has been an active contributor and innovator in the areas of HRD and Individual and Organizational Transformation for over 30 years. Arun has published more than twenty eight papers and written the award winning book “Managing from the Heart”. His latest book “One Wholesome World”, is a practical game changing manual for global transformation.
Along with his partner Anu Wakhlu (an ASHOKA Fellow), Arun has also co-initiated the Poorna Pune and the Education Today Society Tomorrow (ETST) movements. His current focus is on developing Leadership in Education , Safe Food, Health and Sustainable Livelihoods.
MBA and a Cost Accountant, Neerad’s love for selfless service has connected him with many NGOs. His corporate journey moves through Operations, Marketing, Project management and Client Servicing with Fortune 500 companies and currently he is the co-founder of Soham learning solutions that has trained over 4000 youth and small companies. He is also a founding member of ‘Saurashtra Sajeev Kheti Abhiyaan’, a community of organic farmers in Gujarat. During this period, he travelled 1000 kms on bicycle connecting organic farmers. This group also organizes ‘Prakrut’ – an organic food festival with more than 30,000 visitors and over 200 farmers. He is instrumental in conceiving and shaping this Citizens Movement for Safe food.
Geeta Tai is a well known name in the Farm experts group. Retired as an accountant in Defence office in Pune, she has been an organic farmer, supplier to consumers, trainer to farmers and a knowledge resource for traditional food. She learnt farming at Urli-Kanchan at Gram Rajya Trust with Chandra tai Kirloskar. In 1997 she arranged a 150 farmers training at this trust with many experts including Shri Subhash Palekar. To connect these hard working farmers with consumers and get a fair price, she made a consumer supported agriculture group wherein consumers were educated to buy and eat all the produce from the farm; thus developing a strong selling model for farmers. She even started a shop for organic produce in Aundh, Pune. She is a part of the Khalad farmer’s ‘Abhyaas Gat’ that shares and documents all farm learnings at regular intervals.
Retired as a principal technical officer at NCL; he is studying Global warming and climate change since 40 years. In 2006 he started Vasundhara Swachta Abhiyaan ‘VSA’ in Baner, Pune. He has built up an army of volunteers who are committed to give just one hour a week to plant and conserve trees on the hills of Baner, Pashan and Sus. He is actively involved in River cleaning, Plastic waste awareness, wild life conservation and Natural Farming too. VSA had arranged the 10 day learning camp of Shri Palekarji in Pune attended by over 2000 farmers. Eco-Grain Bazaar was organized twice in Baner to provide a selling model to ZBNF farmers. He has also opened up his shop space for ZBNF and sustainable products sale in Baner. He firmly believes that ZBNF – Natural farming is a comprehensive solution to combat global warming.
A Mechanical engineer who surrendered herself to the cosmic call of Mother Nature. She is associated with the Organic industry for over 13 years. She started an “Organic Bazaar” in Pimple Saudagar, Pune with many brands of Organic and sustainable products in Food, personal and homecare segments. She sold this mini-mall and moved on to dedicate herself to bridge the gaps in the organic industry. She is associated with ‘Hidden Oasis’, an organic Eco farm with agro-tourism facilities and evolving as a meditation and healing center. In this journey into the Organic world she has explored her inner organic self too. And from this deep routed awareness and awakening she desires to be a genuine Space holder and a channelizer with a holistic approach towards a sustainable ecosystem development involving villagers, consumers and Mother Nature.
A metallurgist who spent 33 years in Corporate world; retired on 31st Dec 2016 voluntaily; to follow his passion to connect with ‘Maati and Sheti’. It was in 2012 that the seeds of agriculture started to sprout in him. In 2016 he met ‘Krishi Bhushan’ Shri Rajendra Bhatt and took informal training on Natural Farming. He got connected to Vinayak Mahajan, who was working with Farmers in Dapoli to get solutions on market acceptability if they move from Kharif crops to Rabi crops. And in July 2017 he joined this group with the intention to build a market model for the Konkan farmers. At a young age of 55 years; he has offered his 100% to this movement of Safe Food.
Shrinivas Anant Kher
An agriculture graduate, strongly connected to agriculture as grower, wholesaler, supplier, retailer and consumer. He chose to be a farmer as Nature was his passion. He has worked in export oriented floriculture projects and also started a enterprise marketing high-tech agricultural produce. Whilst exploring the sustainability aspect of Agriculture; he has been inspired by Masanobu Fukuoka, Vibhutiyog in Bhagwadgita, Shripad Dabholkar, Dileep Kulkarni, Subhash Palekar, Vendell Berry, John Saymour, and many more.
He is an all time volunteer with Vasundhara Swachhata Abhiyaan working towards conservation of Nature and River.
Currently he is working in Sustainable Agriculture project at MKCL in pursuit of solutions to agrarian crisis. A very challenging question of future generation of farmers is “Why to farm?” and it can only be answered by consumers as “We need you as our Annadata!” To make this happen he is associated with “Annadata”- Citizen’s movement for safe Food for lifetime.
Mr. Ravindra Dharia is President of Vanrai NGO. Here is a video message by him on the Annadata Safe Food Festival