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Mother-Daughter Duo Builds ‘The Lilac Farm’: A Sustainable Haven in the Heart of Bengaluru to Promote Healthy Living

The Lilac Farm, situated in Bengaluru's Somashettyhalli area, was founded by Anitha Ajith and her daughter Christina following a significant event that prompted them to reevaluate their way of life. Currently, they use their farm stay to promote veganism and encourage healthy living through diverse activities.

Shruti Kandwal
The farm was once a family-owned dairy farm for over a decade, but Christina and Anitha decided to shift their focus towards veganism, natural farming, and healthy living. (Image Courtesy: Facebook- The Lilac Farm)
The farm was once a family-owned dairy farm for over a decade, but Christina and Anitha decided to shift their focus towards veganism, natural farming, and healthy living. (Image Courtesy: Facebook- The Lilac Farm)

Bengaluru is a bustling city that's known for its constant noise from honking cars, motorcycles, and street vendors, along with the sounds of construction activity. Living in such a chaotic environment can be overwhelming and make people want to escape. This feeling is what inspired a mother-daughter duo to create a unique and peaceful place for people to retreat from the city's hustle and bustle.

The Lilac Farm, located near Somashettyhalli in Bengaluru, is a haven for nature and animal lovers. The farm offers guests a chance to engage in natural farming, and mud baths, and enjoy healthy vegan meals. Christina Ajith (23) and her mother Anitha Ajith (56) cultivate all their produce using natural farming techniques on their 13-acre farm. They grow a variety of fruits, vegetables, and flowers, including tomatoes, chillies, capsicum, green papaya, bananas, gooseberries, mangoes, butterfly peas, hibiscus, and lilac.

The farm was once a family-owned dairy farm for over a decade, but Christina and Anitha decided to shift their focus towards veganism, natural farming, and healthy living. They wanted to create a unique and clean experience for people who want to escape the city and reconnect with nature.

Embracing a mindful and sustainable lifestyle was not always a priority for Christina, who comes from a typical Malayali family where non-vegetarian dishes like chicken and mutton curries, and fish fingers were a staple. However, in 2019, everything changed when she was diagnosed with Lupus, an autoimmune disease. The doctors advised her to stop consuming animal products and to lead a more natural life.

Within two months, Christina and her family transitioned to veganism. She said, “We were meat lovers, but after my diagnosis, we realized the effects of animal products on the body and environment. We wanted to switch to veganism and introduce natural living to others.”

In 2020, the pandemic hit, and Christina's weakened immune system made her more susceptible to contracting the virus. Her family decided to move to their farm, which at the time, was a dairy farm. However, they wanted to transform it into a vegan farm. They kept the weaker and older cows who needed care and sold the rest to other dairy farm owners.

It was during this time that they decided to start The Lilac Farm, a place that combines Christina's love for cooking and her mother Anitha's passion for farming. For Anitha, the farm was an opportunity to live the natural life she always wanted.

Although the switch to veganism was difficult for their meat-loving family, they soon realized the environmental and ethical benefits of veganism. Christina stated, “It started as a health restriction, but it became a choice. We called ourselves animal lovers, but we had a dairy farm. So, we decided to make a change.” The family's journey to slow and mindful living is an inspiration for those seeking a more natural and sustainable lifestyle.

Christina and her mother had initially planned to build mud houses for their retreat. However, they decided to upcycle the existing cow sheds into guest rooms instead. Every element used to construct the rooms, from windows and doors to tiles, was sourced secondhand from junkyards and scrap dealers. Consequently, the tiles have varying shapes and sizes and don't match, creating a unique aesthetic.

The Lilac Farm offers an assortment of retreats and services, including health and yoga retreats, and corporate and school outings. They've even hosted schools where students learn about food production and are exposed to the farm-to-table concept. The farm aims to connect people with nature by facilitating activities that encourage environmental awareness.

The farm also hosts sustainable and vegan birthday parties and plans to expand into sustainable weddings soon. The parties they host are free of plastic and utilize naturally grown food and decorations made from flowers and leaves grown on their farm. They also produce soft drinks and cocktail mixes using hibiscus and butterfly pea flowers grown on the farm without preservatives.

Upon arrival, guests are greeted with herbal teas and fruit juices and have access to amenities such as a mud pond and a star-gazing deck. Healthy vegan meals are also offered during their stay.

Pranjul Bhadauria, a recent guest at the farm, praises the retreat as the perfect escape from the stresses of daily life, offering a beautiful ambience, vegan food, and farm activities that bring guests closer to nature.

Christina and her mother aspire to promote veganism and natural food production. They believe that Indian cuisine, minus ghee, is mostly vegan. As a mother, Anitha wants to encourage other mothers and people to recognize the benefits of veganism and natural food production, allowing them to live in harmony with nature and minimize harm to the environment.

The Lilac Farm has accommodated nearly 1,000 guests since it opened its doors in 2021, with room rates starting at Rs 2,000 for a double room inclusive of meals, with varying package options.

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