It was 1993 when Krishna Mckenzie travelled all the way from the UK to Puducherry in India. Little did Mckenzie know then that years later, he would go on to become a champion of organic farming and an advocate of eco-friendliness in the quaint township of Auroville.
Inspired by the Indian culture from his alma mater, J Krishnamurti School in the UK, Mckenzie made his life-changing decision of stepping into India. Today, he finds happiness in farming with special emphasis on the Tamil cuisine and culture.
Krishna Mckenzie leads the way forward
The 45-year-old is nothing short of a local celebrity. The Logical Indian spoke to Krishna Mckenzie about his love for natural farming which has been inspiring people to take the greener route. He said, “Man has lost their relationship with mother nature and hence, we have lost sight from where our food comes from.”
Inspired by Masanobu Fukuoka, a farmer who is known for being a champion of natural farming, Krishna Mckenzie along with a few others started the Solitude Farm in 1996. Solitude farm was developed with the ideas of natural farming and permaculture. Today, Mckenzie’s farm is spread over six acres and grows over 140 varieties of local plantations.
He said, “Over the years, our food habits have changed a lot and to cater to those habits we have forgotten the cultivation of naturally-occurring plants like yams, brinjals, flowers which are natural to Tamil Nadu’s ecosystem.” With the aim of honouring the gifts of mother nature, Mckenzie started the Solitude Farm Cafe which serves food and local cuisine made from farm fresh products. What makes Solitude Farm unique is the fact that besides it being organic every bit of produce is chemical and pesticide free.
While riding on the tide of industrialisation, we have forgotten the importance of traditional food. Many of the products grown on the Solitude Farm are not even parts of our industrialized agricultural society, and hence, have been long forgotten from our food habits, said Mckenzie. His aim is to reintroduce these forgotten plants and vegetables while helping people to realise the immense nutritional, medicinal, cultural and socio-economic values they hold in our lives.
Amalgamating music with food
Apart from spending time at the farm, Mckenzie is also a musician, educator and an actor. He not only helps people to realise the importance and benefits of natural farming, Mckenzie also holds a number of seminars and workshops. “I teach people to recognise and understand the abundance and value of locally grown food around them and how to use, prepare and eat it,” his website reads.
As a front-man of the band Emergence, Mckenzie has always played with the idea of amalgamating music with his love for mother nature. He said, “Music is what binds people and cultures together. It’s an adhesive that binds all of us.” The Lively Up Your Earth (LUYE) eco-music festival was a direct result of Mckenzie’s vision, which is set to be held on January 12. An English by birth, Mckenzie’s heart and soul lies in India and is completely immersed in our age-old culture. He said, “I wear a turban and I farm and I speak Tamil. While it might be unusual to people, the charm will soon fade away, however, people will remember the ideals that I am reintroducing.”
Talking about a sudden growth in organic farming in India, he said that people have now just started to realise the importance of returning to traditional agriculture and the benefits that it holds. The Logical Indian appreciates Krishna Mckenzie for his tireless efforts and the initiatives that he has taken to reintroduce natural farming in India.