Dr. Thimmaiah giving a talk at MUM
During a welcome reception at the Sustainable Living Department
In Bhutan during a skill-building program on organic agriculture
Former Bhutan Organic Agriculture Advisor Joins MUM Faculty
The Sustainable Living Department is now broadening its offerings in sustainable agriculture, thanks to the addition of new faculty member A. Thimmaiah, a former agriculture advisor in Bhutan and a top expert in organic and biodynamic agriculture.
Dr. Thimmaiah, who authored the national organic standards for Bhutan, will teach organic agriculture, biodynamic agriculture, and Maharishi Vedic Organic AgricultureSM, at both the undergraduate level and in a proposed new MA program that could start as early as this fall.
“I have a passion to promote low-cost sustainable agricultural technologies by integrating the organic, biodynamic, and Vedic agricultural concepts and practices,” said Dr. Thimmaiah. “Organic farming is not a mere substitution of toxic synthetic inputs with natural materials. Rather, it is a process of understanding and interacting with nature. Consciousness is key to farming that connects the farmer to the biorhythms, the five elements of nature, and the entire cosmos. A conscious farmer will have the wisdom to discriminate between the good agricultural methods and the practices that produce genetically modified food. Since MUM is the home of Consciousness-Based education, I wish to blend consciousness into the food and agricultural sector.”
Dr. Thimmaiah says the initial focus of the curriculum is organic agriculture, and students will gain hands-on experience using campus farming plots, including the campus greenhouses.
The next phase will be biodynamic farming, which goes beyond organic. MUM is working with the Demeter Association to jointly develop courses in biodynamic agriculture. The Demeter Association, which promotes biodynamic agriculture and certifies biodynamically farmed produce, recently invited Dr. Thimmaiah to be a member of its board.
This approach, which he says has its roots in Vedic agriculture, pays particular attention to lunar rhythms to determine the right dates for planting, sowing, and harvesting. It also uses low-dose herbal and mineral preparations that are spread or sprayed on fields. “Biodynamics is in line with the rhythms of nature, and the quality it produces is very high,” Dr. Thimmaiah said.
Ultimately, the curriculum will progress to Maharishi Vedic Organic Agriculture, which integrates Vedic concepts into farming, and is currently being developed in conjunction with experts in Maharishi Vedic Organic Agriculture.
The overall curriculum will be both broad, considering global scenarios related to sustainability and organic agriculture, as well as focused on what students can do in their own locality, giving them plenty of hands-on experience.