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Earth Kitchen: A short story

Updated: Sep 27, 2019

Many friends and guests have asked us about our time here in the village, and how we developed nothing into something beautiful. The long one will take many days, so here's the short story:


Hesaraghatta Earth Kitchen Homestay conservation nature
The story starts in January 2002, when we first visited the farmland together.

Hesaraghatta Earth Kitchen Homestay conservation nature
It was then just a rolling side of a shallow valley, with a rain-fed stream running through it, draining a kilometre of terrain on north and south.

Hesaraghatta Earth Kitchen Homestay conservation nature
We walked the land, appreciating it’s stark beauty. Cloudy skies and light rain rendered the landscape magical.

Hesaraghatta Earth Kitchen Homestay conservation nature
The only man-made structure visible to the eye was the Taj Kuteeram’s water tower.

We take our time thinking about this. Is this the life we want for ourselves? Can we give up our thriving careers to make a move into the unknown?


We decide that this is for us.

Hesaraghatta Earth Kitchen Homestay conservation nature
In 2008, we start work on developing the 6 acres according to an ecologically sustainable master plan.

Hesaraghatta Earth Kitchen Homestay conservation nature
The land is levelled, preserving the natural gradient. Trenches and bunds are created to stop water flowing in speed, eroding top soil and running off the land.

Hesaraghatta Earth Kitchen Homestay conservation nature
The whole land is water harvested, and the rainfall channelled into a 100,000 cubic ft pond, dug at the lowermost point of the land, to recharge groundwater. (Composite image).

Hesaraghatta Earth Kitchen Homestay conservation nature
We started with one tree.

Hesaraghatta Earth Kitchen Homestay conservation nature
The first trees we plant are on the boundary. A selection of flowering trees are chosen for the periphery and bougainvilleas planted to climb the fencing.

Hesaraghatta Earth Kitchen Homestay conservation nature Bangalore
We also plant an orchard of 75 fruit trees, of every variety possible.

Hesaraghatta Earth Kitchen Homestay conservation nature Bangalore
A 30’X40’ tank, 5’ deep, is constructed on the highest point of the land to store borewell water overflow. This water is used to drip irrigate the fruits and vegetables by gravity.

Hesaraghatta Earth Kitchen Homestay conservation nature Bangalore
It can also double up as an organic swimming pool in hot weather.

Hesaraghatta Earth Kitchen Homestay conservation nature Bangalore
A mud brick home we designed ourselves starts to take shape. The bricks are made from our own soil and sun baked on site, minimising ecological impact.

Hesaraghatta Earth Kitchen Homestay conservation nature Bangalore
Work on the house moves too slowly. So we decide to move into the unfinished house and complete it while living on site.

Hesaraghatta Earth Kitchen Homestay conservation nature Bangalore
Once we move in, the first task is to plant trees on the stark landscape.

Hesaraghatta Earth Kitchen Homestay conservation nature Bangalore
We chose to develop our home not as a commercial farm, but a patch of mixed forest. Every conceivable tree we can find is brought and assigned a space.

Hesaraghatta Earth Kitchen Homestay conservation nature Bangalore
In the first batch, we plant a full garden and 2000 trees.

Hesaraghatta Earth Kitchen Homestay conservation nature Bangalore
We choose every conceivable variety of shrubs and trees, to increase biodiversity.

Hesaraghatta Earth Kitchen Homestay conservation nature Bangalore
Slowly but surely, the land regenerates.

Hesaraghatta Earth Kitchen Homestay conservation nature Bangalore
Trees take hold and flourish as soil moisture increases.

Hesaraghatta Earth Kitchen Homestay conservation nature Bangalore
Earth Kitchen is transformed from a barren grassland into a rich, bio-diverse habitat, with over 100 species of birds and numerous mammals, reptiles and insects calling it home.

Hesaraghatta Earth Kitchen Homestay conservation nature Bangalore
Today, we have a young, growing forest of over 3500 trees.

Hesaraghatta Earth Kitchen Homestay conservation nature Bangalore
In 2014, we launch Earth Kitchen, a weekend farm bistro offering Mediterranean cuisine.

Hesaraghatta Earth Kitchen Homestay conservation nature Bangalore
Home cooked gourmet food, replicating original flavours and aromas from Southern Europe, the Middle East and North Africa.

Hesaraghatta Earth Kitchen Homestay conservation nature Bangalore
We grow organic vegetables and exotic herbs for our own consumption. The produce also finds its way into the food we offer our guests.

Hesaraghatta Earth Kitchen Homestay conservation nature Bangalore
We also offer our organic produce for sale - processed, cleaned and packed.

Hesaraghatta Earth Kitchen Homestay conservation nature Bangalore
In 2018, we build a cottage with 5 ensuite bedrooms and launch our homestay.

Hesaraghatta Earth Kitchen Homestay conservation nature Bangalore
It offers rustic but comfortable, well appointed rooms.

Hesaraghatta Earth Kitchen Homestay conservation nature Bangalore
And scenic, quiet and ecologically sustainable spaces for guests.

Hesaraghatta Earth Kitchen Homestay conservation nature Bangalore
A return to a natural way of living.

Hesaraghatta Earth Kitchen Homestay conservation nature Bangalore
Gardens and orchards to rest weary senses.

Hesaraghatta Earth Kitchen Homestay conservation nature Bangalore
And an unforgettable experience.

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