A small, lush plot of land in Chengalpet, a town 76 kilometres away from Chennai, Tamil Nadu, is the face of the future of farming. The integrated hydroponics and fish farm was created by Jegan Vincent, a software engineer who quit his job in the US and returned to India with the goal of doing something more meaningful with aquaponics.
He bought an acre of land and started Freshry Farms five years ago in order to experiment with efficient and eco-friendly farming techniques. The result was an aquaponics farm. Aquaponics refers to an integration of aquaculture such as pisciculture with hydroponics, i.e. cultivating plants in water.
Recently, he made his farm open to researchers from universities and colleges. He also runs a free three-day course for anyone interested in modern organic farming and pisciculture. Besides teaching, he supports the local farmers by providing them with tree saplings for free, making his dream farm holistic in every sense of the word.
“My aim is to see if we can generate as much produce on an acre of land as is conventionally possible on 7 acres,” Jegan tells The Better India. The farm currently yields 45 tonnes of fish every year and 3 to 4 tonnes of vegetables every month. He has been able to achieve this by developing a cohesive farming system.