1. Home
  2. Success Story

International Women’s Day: Undeterred by Challenges, Himachal Woman Creates History in Natural Farming

Armed with passion and determination, here is why Leena Sharma is the leading lady of the field in the state.

Mrini Devnani
Story of Power and Change (Photo Source: Leena Sharma)
Story of Power and Change (Photo Source: Leena Sharma)

For those who believe that marriage is the last milestone in a woman’s life, the story of Leena Sharma is a befitting response. This 40-year-old woman started learning Natural Farming techniques much later in life. Supported by her husband, her zeal for learning drove her to start something new.

A Step Towards Change

Naturally, the path was not easy. Many did not support her decision. To break her resolve, some said, 'We have reached the moon and back! Look, she is here, still dealing with cow dung!' Nonetheless, such jibes only strengthened her resolve to try natural methods of farming. She started at it by first preparing a small portion of her land. Then she tried many methods till she found the ones that fit her crops the best. Notably, Leena took inspiration from the best, none other than Padma Shri–awardee Subhash Palekar, popularly known as the 'Krishika Rishi' by many farming communities in India. She stumbled upon his genius in 2018, while attending a six-day workshop by him.

From that time on it has been six years since she practiced in the Mandi district of Himachal Pradesh. She has a total land of five bighas which is rain-fed. Leena mostly cultivates her fields by paying charges and she does not have any machinery of her own. However, she has formed a group of 20 women to work jointly covering an area of 80 bighas.

Making it Happen

Interestingly, she has introduced many new techniques to her community. One such is discouraging fellow farmers from spreading urea in the field. She advised them to practice multi-crop farming without any use of chemicals. Similarly, she solved the issue of using pesticides on the farm by telling people about the practical ways of preparing grass with cow’s urine, an ideal way of dealing with crop protection.

She uses various components like jivamrit, ghanjivamrit, beejamarit, khatti lassi, and agniastra for her fields. This brought very good crops for her in the first year. She is also growing crops of peas, garlic, coriander, fenugreek, and french beans in the Rabi season and maize, mash, soybean, til, kodra, and bhindi during Kharif.  By doing this farming, their cost price has been largely reduced. Plus, good production and quality products have been obtained. Her main mantra? It is that farmers should not rush from one place to another for resources. Instead, they must utilize what is already available in common households.

Future is Female

When asked about the role of women in the farmlands of Himachal Pradesh, she says, “Nearly 80% of women are working in the farms. However, the menfolk still bag the recognition. Hence, I advise all women to come to the forefront. We are naturally tuned for dual responsibility.” Moreover, Leena is trying her best to bring other women to parity by conducting physical sessions from village to village and educating all about the natural practices of farming. She also likes to keep herself updated to pass the know-how to other women in the vicinity.

“In the coming 5-10 years, I have envisioned to do even better than today. One does not have to be a scientist to do farming; it is an acquired skill that comes with practice.”

Leena received an award from the SDM and MLA of Karsog for her commendable work in natural farming, which was recommended by the Agriculture Department. In June 2019, the Vice President of NITI Aayog shared her farming experience with other farmers.

Alongside, this female farmer teaches natural farming to children in schools and NSS Camps. She is also the only women farmer from India to participate in the organization of a webinar at the international level about the impact on the environment and economic cooperation of agricultural activities.

International Women’s Day 2024 Quiz Take a quiz
Share your comments
FactCheck in Agriculture Project

Subscribe to our Newsletter. You choose the topics of your interest and we'll send you handpicked news and latest updates based on your choice.

Subscribe Newsletters