“Swargam Medu is a wild fruit forest – it is a book I am taking lessons from about the ways of nature and how it sustains itself, so I can apply it elsewhere”
Eldho Pachilakkadan, an ex-architect hailing from Trivandrum, Kerala converted 10 acres of barren land into a wild fruit forest to learn the ways of nature. To achieve this, he retired voluntarily in his 30s and became a farmer. Why? To avoid losing his land.
In 2009, along with his partner and artist Vivek Vilasini, he bought 10 acres of barren land in Swargam Medu, at Idukki near Munnar in Kerala.
He moved to Swargam Medu, adopted two local pups, and started a life close to nature. He has been a fruitarian (90% of his regular diet comprises fruits) for almost a decade now, which helped him fix obesity. “Living close to nature took care of my irregularities,” he says.
“When you watch nature closely, you begin to notice a pattern. I started noticing how important food is – what every creature eats, and how that affects its food chain, and how in turn, this affects other creatures around it,” he says. According to him, each creature, as it eats, contributes to its food chain, and in turn nature.
Over a span of 2 years, Swargam Medu has now become a fertile fruit forest filled with flowers, shrubs and fruit trees.
Pachilakkadan and his team have started building self-sustainable farms around houses, near Ernakulam and Kottayam.“The idea is to create a self-sustaining ecosystem that will supply enough food in the form of fruits and vegetables for a family to survive through the year, without them having to indulge in daily farm labor. We are calling it utopia because it is the concept of a village that is almost too good to be true,” he says.