Shagun Singh worked as a marketing executive when she decided she wanted to do what brought her peace and joy. She decided to build herself a home using sustainable items. She studied permaculture and started her foundation called Geeli Mitti in 2015. The Farms are located at Mahrora Village in Pangot, some 25 km from Nainital town in Kumaon Uttarakhand
Geeli Mitti Farms grew from the dream that if we return to our roots and reconnect with nature and ourselves, we will find the balance people are so desperately seeking today. The importance of community and sustainability drove the dream. Working with the earth brought its own blessings. As anyone who lives in mud-houses or homes of natural material like stone and wood knows, these homes create a space of spiritual energy, that is palpable.
Today Geeli Mitti is a social enterprise, working on generating livelihood for marginalised communities and specialising in sustainable housing and farming. They say: “Our natural homes are flood proof, fire proof, earthquake proof. “
They research, innovate and expand in areas that help enhance the quality of one’s life and thought. Each project is backed with strategic thought and is in collaboration with those who help humans, animals, and plants. Rather than reinventing the wheel, they believe learning from available traditional wisdom.
Their vision: Long after we are gone, we want to leave a permanent change in the way we humans currently live.
To that end all their structures are Natural Building which includes a variety of building techniques that focus on creating sustainable buildings which minimise their negative ecological impact. Natural Buildings use non-industrial, minimally processed, locally available, and renewable materials and can also utilise recycled or salvaged materials. At Geeli Mitti farms, each structure is made of mud, cow dung and lime. One of the techniques they use is the earth-bag technique that is most suitable in earthquake prone zones.
While Geeli Mitti may have started with Shagun’s need to find peace and harmony, it has naturally grown into a community space, as much a gift of the Earth, as it is a call of the Earth that she heeded. And spaces like these have their own energy, attracting others to sustainable living practices.
Photos Courtesy: Geeli Mitti