In India a growing number of small-scale farmers practice a variety of natural farming. Natural farming denotes sustainable farming practices that often go beyond the regulations of certified organic standards. In the case of India, natural farming entails a revitalization to traditional, non-Western practices, knowledge, and agricultural species. This article argues that contemporary natural farming movements in India provide an example and a language to think about more-than-human health in a non-reductive way. Based on qualitative research (ethnography and textual analysis) on the Zero Budget Natural Farming movement, this article aims to show how natural farming, by providing practices and idioms that focus a) on multispecies relations b) a decentering of human agency and c) microbial live natural farming offer valuable contribution to sustainable and regenerative agriculture in the Indian context and possibly beyond. The perspective on more-than-human health is exemplified by natural farming’s understandings and practices regarding soil as a belowground living being, whose health resonates with the health plants and animals, including people.
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This event is part of the Lecture Series: “Imagining the Environment: Climate Change, Rivers and Political Ecology in India”, see more here.