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Sreejan A Story. (page 2 )

Current Status at Barkheda
Some of us have already made huge personal as well as financial commitment to make our dream come true. More than 150 acres of land owners have joined the movement. Based on the concept of zero run-off, more than 70 acres of water bodies (which were not there when we purchased) have been built in last 5 years. Abundant water which is the basic and fundamental necessity in such a project is already a reality. Our water bodies get filled just with 30% of average rainfall. We can easily take 2 crops right now. We have tripled the biomass production in last 5 years. More than 220 varieties of herbs naturally grow here. Lots of birds & animals have migrated here & even the tiger & leopard have started venturing.
We currently have 5 ‘Sreejan Kartas’ and one of the petals-the SEED cooperative society up and running. Some members of SEED hold about 150 acres of land in private ownership at Barkheda and as more investors become members, the land mass keeps increasing and that in turn makes more land available for more ‘Sreejan Kartas’.
We have in place a dedicated team of 7 people led by an able manager to take care of the day to day operations. We have been farming on about 10 acres and the income generated thereby sustains our day to day expenses. We also have a ‘gaushala’ with 50 odd stay cows. We have a facility for training & living for 50 people.
Our dreams are big. Our doors are always open. We are not looking for donors. We invite people who share the same dream so that we together can manifest our dreams by investing our collective resources into the project.  

This project is being currently guided by Rajesh Gupta and Rajinder Raina and we hope to have all the parts of the petal as envisaged up and running by the end of 2012. 
We believe that in next 5 to 10 years, a self organized, eco centric village of about 50 to 100 families should unfold at Barkheda, presenting itself as a model to replicate elsewhere.

Why we choose Barkheda?
Small communes with similar intentions have been attempted for over a century all over the globe. We strongly believe that Barkheda is uniquely placed for such an experiment to succeed because of its:
Opportunity to Scale (for some things) and localize (for some other things). For example water conservation is just not possible on a 2 acre (or for that matter a 20 acre) piece of isolated land. So we have decided to work on 150 acres for watershed management to start with and as we work with our neighboring villages, our interventions would keep expanding.
Prudent use of Water and other natural Resources. We believe that a new model can only be created by redefining our approach and treatment of just one thing….how we treat our water. For us to be part of the water cycle we need to treat and maintain a healthy watershed. So we have worked to harvest rain on about 150 acres of watershed which we intend to restore, nourish and ultimately expand as we involve neighboring villages. We at Barkheda consider ourselves to be part of the natural ‘watershed’ and that dictates a minimum size, topography and geography and it also dictates how we live in that watershed. 
Opportunity to integrate. We at Barkheda intend to integrate the neighboring villages by design. Barkheda will be the nucleolus from where a new way of living, learning and systems would get propagated. 
Theme based integrated Approach: Our whole intervention we believe has a higher probability of success because of the integrity of its Purpose, the time tested validity of its Guiding Themes and the holistic flavor of its Working Components. 
Community Led: Growth and regeneration of natural resources within the watershed needs to be owned and managed by the whole community-efficiently and effectively. We believe that our unique working model where members of community engage as ‘partners of purpose’ as well as ‘partners of profit’ shall evolve into a healthy structure where the whole and the part are both taken care of simultaneously.
Ability to attract right People. We believe that Barkheda would attract different people (diverse in some ways and likeminded in some other ways) as it can provide for an open canvas to do what they have always believed is good for humanity….be it Natueco farming or bungee jumping.
Beginning 2012, our first attempt at Sreejan is to develop Sreejan Karta for farming and we launched a scheme called SIMPLE on 1st Jan 2012 to execute this model on the ground.(see SIMPLE Scheme outline for details) 

It is common knowledge that farming as a process as well as the farmer as its key beneficiary, both are in absolute distress. It is also clearly evident (even to a layman on the street) that the current food chain is broken beyond repair. 

Engagement with Sreejan
Sreejan is an idea as well as a space, a community and a canvas for all. No one owns Sreejan (though some people own land at Barkheda). Our invitation to connect with Sreejan is open to everyone with whom our stated beliefs and our work resonate. Our simple ‘Engagement Model’ ensures that different people with different gifts and endowments engage at their own pace and depth-meaningfully and creatively and that they get what they are looking for in return without manipulation, exploitation or drudgery. 

Governance at Sreejan

A unique ‘Governance Model’ where every member goes thru a consensus driven continuous ‘Evaluation Mechanism’ is in place to keep all participants engaged, productive and energized and those who want to live off others or the commons are identified early enough. We hope that all the processes and mechanisms evolve as we learn from our mistakes.