Restoring Traditional Agroecological Cotton Production in Tamil Nadu, India | One Earth
Restoring Traditional Agroecological Cotton Production in Tamil Nadu, India

Nishanth of the agroecological cotton project. Image credit: Courtesy of Ashish Chandra

Restoring Traditional Agroecological Cotton Production in Tamil Nadu, India

Organization
Category Regenerative Agriculture

There are five main project categories: Energy Transition focuses on renewable energy access and energy efficiency. Nature Conservation includes wildlife habitat protection and ecosystem restoration, as well as Indigenous land rights. Regenerative Agriculture supports farmers, ranchers and community agriculture. Climate Change covers global science efforts, climate adaptation, and social justice work.

Realm Indomalaya

The Project Marketplace is organized by the major terrestrial realms divided into 14 biogeographical regions – N. America, Subarctic America, C. America, S. America, Afrotropics, Indomalaya, Australasia, Oceania, Antarctica, and the Palearctic realm, which coincides with Eurasia and is divided into Subarctic, Western, Central, Eastern, and Southern regions.

Status seed

Seed indicates an early stage project that needs some level of support to develop into a larger funding proposal. Ongoing indicates any project that needs core programmatic funding. Urgent indicates a short-term project initiated in response to a natural disaster or other impending risk.

Funding Level $$

$$ indicates a project with a funding need between $50,000-$250,000.

Timeframe 12 Months
Partner Fibershed

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The conventional textile industry in the Erode region has led to record cancer rates, environmental degradation, and widespread human suffering. Recognizing that the traditional wisdom of the area’s ancient Indian agricultural practices and traditional artisan craftsmanship could guide a new path forward, the Oshadhi Collective began building a seed-to-sew supply chain with regenerative cotton farms at its heart.

Image credit: Courtesy of Ashish Chandra 

Nishanth Chopra grew up in a family and community focused on textile production in the manufacturing center of Erode, in the state of Tamil Nadu, India. Using his expertise in textile design and development as a catalyst for system-wide change, Nishanth founded Oshadhi Collective and the Prakriti Fibershed to connect textile and fashion industries with ecosystem regeneration at the farm level and to honor the resources and craftsmanship at all stages of production. Oshadhi’s farming demonstration and research site is trialing hundreds of soil fertility and natural pest management recipes derived from traditional cultural practices, with highly positive results.

Image credit: Courtesy of Ashish Chandra 

This project will build a basic on-site soil laboratory for testing and evaluating field soil and specialized compost preparations. This laboratory will ground the work to revive these traditional agroecological farming practices on many more small farms in the area, with a plan to establish these practices on at least 200 acres in the coming year. As Chopra explains, “Our vision is to re-ruralize the way textiles are made, investing in the inherently sustainable techniques that have been used by artisans in our village for years.”

Image credit: Courtesy of Ashish Chandra 

The equipment and facilities for the soil laboratory are ready to be purchased and assembled when funding has been secured for this project. Once the soil laboratory has been operationalized, services will be offered to neighboring partner farmers, using the facility to assess the traditional recipes and better advise farmers in the region. Partnerships have already been built with fashion brands who are committed to purchasing the cotton production from this project, ensuring that there will be a supportive economic value offered to continue fueling the expansion of the project.

Image credit: Courtesy of Ashish Chandra 

This project will benefit farmers, artisans, and community members engaged with textile production in the area, revitalizing a healthy system of relationships, nurturing the soil to bring back biodiversity, and restoring its ability to capture carbon.

Image credit: Courtesy of Oshadi Collective 

This regenerative supply chain has been envisioned and is being built, in partnership with regional farmers and traditional artisans. It is rooted in rural wisdom and craftsmanship, learning from a culture that has always held a regenerative relationship to the planet. The teachings of the ancestors have been sought out to help restore the Earth for future generations, reviving Ayurvedic agricultural methods and creating a sustainable economic future for artisan crafts. Directly employing local people on their own terms, a self-sufficient system is being built to ensure fair income distribution and working conditions all may be proud of.

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100% of your donation will go directly to support this project. You can also give a gift in honor of a friend or family member.

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