CALOTROPIS - Green Gold of India
A plant that is truly worthy of being offered to Shiva.
NOT JUST A WEED
So far people have been living off by exploiting nature and now we can create immediate income streams that revive ecosystems. This multi-dimensional cash crop will play a huge agricultural role in the future of India, bringing immense value to the land, society, and ecosystem.
Integrating calotropis can speed up the reforestation process
Calotropis is a pioneer plant whose main purpose is to bring the forest canopy back.
This perennial weed grows year after year without plowing, planting, or watering. It flourishes without human intervention on drylands, where no other plants can grow.
Even after harvesting the stems, the shoots will double in 6 months.
It will easily cover the dry land - adding essential nutrients, purifying, and regenerating the soil - preparing for a future forest.
Another great function of this plant is to anchor the soil to prevent erosion.
It does not depend on any natural resources except sunlight!
Once the new canopy forms a large enough shade, calotropis will disappear.
Calotropis’ perennial and pioneering traits can help create a prosperity blueprint for vulnerable farming communities. Like for earth, this auspicious plant has a higher plan for society.
To get started, farmers can wild forage the pod fibers and keep the seeds for sowing. Their efforts for collection gets compensated by selling fibers to FABORG and there is no co-dependency on seeds.
40% of farming land in Tamil Nadu is sown only once due to water scarcity. For the other 9 months, many farmers earn their living in cities doing heavy-lifting jobs. Farming calotropis is easy - it will keep growing bigger and stronger even after being cut. Farmers are assured with an all-year income.
Building and maintaining a fence is essential to keep grazing animals away but is a costly expense. Calotropis has a bitter taste and can create a perfect natural barrier to keep the crops safe. For example, one of the ways a neem tree propagates is by a bird dropping a seed in between a group of calotropis plants. The young neem tree, safe from grazing, will grow comfortably between the calotropis. As the neem grows big enough, it will cover calotropis with shade causing it to disappear. All we need to do is imitate nature’s multi-cropping through circular propagation.
Calotropis’ processing is time-sensitive due to the milky sap that disintegrates the fibers. The extractions have to be done locally making the project decentralized. This project is meant to grow organically, keeping the power with the farmers and dry-land communities.
Multi-cropping calotropis is converting dry, unusable terrain into profitable farmland. This boosts the rural economy by creating employment in dry parts of the country where jobs are unsecured.
Calotropis has over 100 different documented uses in Ayurveda. Under the guidance of an ayurvedic doctor, calotropis can be used for fever, decreasing sugar, spleen, and liver disorders, all the way up to treating heavy metal poisoning. link
Bringing back the knowledge
Calotropis is well known as Shiva’s plant and is also garlanded on Ganesha. This high status is not a coincidence. Somehow in recent generations, this plant has been forgotten and information about its toxicity taken out of context. With everything this plant has to offer it’s an injustice to not explore it in-depth. Here is a pdf of the history of Calotropis for curious minds.
In deserted areas, especially in summer times, calotropis provides food for many insects and shelter for lizards and other vertebrates. It kickstarts the food chain and attracts more fauna.
Fabrics made from calotropis fibers are a great alternative to cashmere and wool. WEGANOOL™ does not depend on grazing animals which is the no.1 cause for rapid deforestation.
Calotropis doesn’t require pesticides, on the contrary, it is a natural pest repellent.
Dried calotropis leaves have been used as fodder for cattle in deserted areas. The dried version loses bitterness and is safe for animals to consume in bigger quantities.
The most dangerous and prevalent greenhouse gas is carbon dioxide. Multi-cropping calotropis in arid regions captures about 7 tonnes of carbon per acre in a year. By providing extra shade and decreasing carbon dioxide levels, calotropis helps cool down the earth.
FABORG’s main office is located close to the international township of Auroville. The founder - The Mother - has given a spiritual significance to calotropis. Her writing given below perfectly summarises and resonates with the courageous project that is Calotropis Revolution.
The Mother on Courage
In reference to Calotropis
This courage means having a taste for the supreme adventure. And this taste for supreme adventure is an aspiration - an aspiration which takes hold of you completely and flings you, without calculation and without reserve and without the possibility of withdrawal, into the great adventure of the divine discovery, the great adventure of divine meeting, the yet greater adventure of divine realization; you throw yourself into the adventure without looking back and without asking for a single minute, "what's going to happen?" For if you ask what is going to happen, you never start, you always remain stuck there, rooted to the spot, afraid to lose something, to lose your balance."