deepak construction

why Organic

Why Eat Organic?
Tribhuvan University recently reported that 75 percent of Kathmandu¹s vegetables contain pesticide residues. (Although the specific chemicals vary, similar levels of residue can be found throughout the world.) Because most Nepali farmers (and many of their counterparts throughout Asia) have been told of the benefits but know little about the risks of or alternatives to agricultural chemicals, use of these chemicals- including some that are obsolete or banned in other countries- is widespread in Nepal, and many are used incorrectly. Silvie cites an example of tomatoes, which she terms “notorious” for being pesticide-tainted. Prone to fungus, they are treated with chemical pesticides just before harvesting (normally, vegetables should not be treated in the two-week period prior to harvest). When bought, non-organically grown tomatoes therefore have a high concentration of pesticide, much of which will go straight into consumers’ mouths.

If that discourages you from partaking of your favorite tomato salad, take comfort in the knowledge that organic vegetables are actually what vegetables are meant to be: good for you. They are grown without chemical fertilizers and pesticides, and use farming techniques that maintain or improve soil quality and preserve ecosystems. Not only are organic vegetables better for you (including offering more nutritional value) and for nature than their non-organic counterparts, they taste much better too.

So the next time you bite into a veggie, ask yourself this: is it ORGANIC?


The organic farm was started in 1987 by Judith Chase, an American woman who, liking the area, decided to settle there and grow organic vegetables. When AAA was established as a not-for-profit NGO (Non-Governmental Organization) in 1990, the farm relied heavily on external funding, which came mostly from Canada, Germany, and the United States. During her eight year stay on the farm, Judith trained over forty local women in organic farming methods, brought in milk cows, and greatly expanded the variety of vegetables grown. Many of the women she trained still sell their produce through AAA. Judith also trained individuals from NGOs and expatriates’ gardeners. When she left, the farm and its management went through what the current director calls a “chaotic period”, where different people headed the organization, and business declined. When Silvia LaFranchi from Switzerland stepped in as director, she put major efforts into further expanding the variety of food offered, marketing AAA, building contacts with restaurants, and setting up delivery to consumers. Happily, the farm revived.

The farm, whose property is on lease, now provides employment to eleven staff. Three of the staff members are women, and four live on site with their families. The wives of three farmers take care of the guesthouse, which brings additional income to the farm. At any one time, there are five or six workers tending to the farm. Workers earn a minimum monthly salary and receive a percentage of the profit that AAA makes. Dutch national Silvie Walraven, a former VSO (Volunteer Services Organization) volunteer for community development work in Nepal, has been AAA’s director (a voluntary position) for the past two years. The first year, she lived on the farm; she now lives in Kathmandu. Working with Silvie, also voluntarily, is Annick Monbaron from Switzerland, who now lives on the farm and takes care of marketing and accounts. Annick had previously been working in Nepal on a Swiss firm’s road construction project.

Dairy article

An organic co-op is born
Thirteen neighboring farmers showed up at Gamcha Farm’s first community meeting, and Chase’s dream to turn her operation into a Nepalese-run co-op that would benefit indigenous farmers began to look feasible. Feasible, that is, if she could convince the farmers that organic methods would, in the end, yield more crops. To do this, Chase set aside one-quarter of her farmland to donate to individual farmers, and she organized workshops to teach organic practices with local conditions in mind. “We gave each person a plot of land on our land,” says Chase. “Each person divided their plot in half and used biointensive, double-digging processes on one side and their traditional way on the other.”

Read more: Dairy article

nuwakot milk production site

 The Project:

Søbogaard and a local dairy in nearby medieval town of Bhaktapur, have made a joint venture, supported by Danida’s Business-to-Business Programme. The project is based on the planting of Danish elderberry trees for elderflower concentrate for organic icecream and organic juice. At Gamcha we have collected a variety of test material and plant nursery material, which we plant out in large production areas, altitudes. We are aiming at organic certification for all our acreage. (We arrange tours to our production fields and ice-cream factory.)

Global Organics

Farmers from around the world face different challenges while striving to make a difference. Co-opting a cultureIntegrating new techniques with old-world practices is the key to success for an organic farming cooperative in Nepal’s Kathmandu ValleyTucked just outside of bustling and polluted Kathmandu lays a surprising oasis of thriving green fields and vibrant red brick buildings. Gamcha Organic Farm and Cooperative, a two-acre spread in the Bhaktapur district near Gamcha village, is a welcome retreat for those who desire safely cultivated produce.

Read more: Global Organics

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