Native Farmers from Tamil Nadu doing Natural Building

Natural living series

In search of a Mud Home

Leading a life in village for the past decade, Thannal is a witness of a number of reverse migrations from cities to villages by people who are in search of a lifestyle closer to nature, away from commercial and fast urban life. They search for self-sufficiency, to grow their own food, make their own clothes and build their shelters as owner’s build. This is a good change as a result of people getting more and more aware about the conflicts between humans and environment. This will further pave way to future generations who are conscious of living with minimum damage to nature.

The village alternates

If we look closer, there are differences in the thinking and approach by people who have migrated from cities and those who are from villages itself. If we look at a broader picture, there are native villagers who have changed into an alternate lifestyle, working deeply in natural farming, oil extraction (following the footsteps of masters like Nammalvar) and indigenous medicine. Such gems working in alternate sector have spent much of their life in villages, involved in agriculture or any related activities to nature. They also share a good connection with earth from childhood. Apart from choosing an alternate lifestyle for themselves, they are also keen on giving back ‘fruits’ to the community. They are active in their own native for years, spreading awareness about Natural Farming and conservation of indigenous plant varieties. Many had an experience of building a home in their childhood with local materials available nearby and few continue to live in mud homes. But they are not confident on building a home with mud now, or maintain their old mud homes. Such a gap in knowledge is also the reason for people to shift to conventional construction methods in many Indian villages.

A ‘Good Mud home’ movement

We believe if farming is possible without chemicals, buildings are also possible without a drop of cement. People who have their roots in rural areas and work for natural farming can take Mud Buildings back to villages, where still many such shelters exist and are in use. Thannal works towards spreading awareness about Natural Building and making a knowledge bank for everyone, irrespective of where they belong to and money-in-hand to make a home. But one should always remember, Natural buildings are for people who want to live naturally with less consumption of resources and small creative spaces, not massive houses.

This can be useful for anyone who needs a mud home in true sense, without cement at affordable cost. As only locally available natural materials are used, we reduce the dependency on urban markets and manufactured materials to make home. This also keep the cost of Natural Buildings less as compared to cement construction.

Today, Natural farming can be learnt and practiced by all, rich and poor, but the products are supplied to urban markets only. The real beauty of alternate practices is when it’s fruits are available for everyone, at affordable prices. Let 2020 pave way to cost-effective rural markets in organic products like Thannal’s way of doing pure Natural Building with herbal ingredients without chemicals for both poor and rich.

To filter and reach people is the most difficult part in this segment. That’s why we are having two category of workshops

Farming and Construction are two activities having huge environmental impacts, health hazards and wastage, so spreading traditional practices among everyone can help to reduce the damage.

‘Grow more villages with less development and self-sufficiency.’ – Biju Bhaskar

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Article by  Akhil Shajan & Biju Bhaskar

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