Good Start – Good Deeds

How far that little candle throws its beams! So shines a good deed in a weary world.

‘As one lamp lights another, nor grows less, So nobleness enkindleth nobleness.’ Basic Life Support (BLS) is a vision to which Dr Suchika Deshmukh connects to and contributes consistently for its realization. Adhering to this universal vision, it is her belief and credo that the vision can only be affirmed by undertaking continuous, positive steps for BLS training. It is her chosen area of affirmation for her country, for which she takes proactive stance through her words, feelings and actions.

Putting together all positive energy to connect the people who value human lives, she is the driving force behind HERD Foundation for sharing and enlarging the scope of BLS. Never one to lose an opportunity to extend her mission she puts together all like-minded individuals and agencies to actively participate in widening the BLS training programmes. She works on the simple idea that every person must know how to save a human life. And so the New Year begins on a high note of learning to do good deeds for the benefit of other human beings.

Her commitment to the cause comes from an inner conviction that she needs to spread the message that every person can save a human life. Basic life support or BLS comprises of primary level medical care that can be used for victims of life-threatening injuries until they can be given full medical care at a hospital. BLS can be provided by trained medical personnel, including emergency medical technicians, paramedics, and by ‘qualified’ bystanders. BLS training therefore aims at educating the first responders.

HERD Foundation, through the efforts of Dr Suchika Deshmukh, has brought BLS and ACLS Training to Nagpur city in a big way since 2015. Under her guidance NKPSIMS and Lata Mangeshkar Hospital have set up the International Training Centre that is accredited by American Heart Association. Tuesday, January 2, 2018 saw a record of sorts through the combined efforts of Indian Academy of Paediatrics (IAP) when as many as 3,000 persons including 300 hearing and speech impaired schoolchildren were trained in basic life support (BLS) or cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) at Suresh Bhat auditorium.

The day-long workshop was inaugurated by the city mayor Nanda Jichkar, who termed the BLS training endeavour as Social Learning module with immense importance and opportunity to save lives. A team of specialists led by Dr Meenakshi Girish, Dr Pravin Dahake and Dr Rajkumar Kiratkar trained the participants in CPR. Dr Girish explained the basics of the technique with the help of a video presentation and mannequins. Director of HERD Foundation and LSTS Dr Suchika Deshmukh underlined the importance of the technique.

The team provided the training in which participants were encouraged to continue to practice the technique and use it when needed. Present on this occasion were Dr Vinky Rughvani, member Maharashtra Medical Council, Dr R.G. Patil, Dr Sanjay Marathe, Dr Girish Charde. Dr Kritish Balpande, Dr Vasant Khalatkar, Dr Jayant Upadhye, Dr Uday Bodhankar and Dr Avinash Gawande from Government Medical College and Hospital were also present.

Studies reveal that only 50-55% affected victims get proper medical attention. Also, lack of first-responder support turn out fatalities in nearly 90% cases. Lack of CPR care has victims dying when studies clearly underline that during first few minutes if proper CPR is given chances of survival improve dramatically. CPR provided to victims early on increases the time available for experts to provide ALS care and save patients. BLS skills are therefore much needed and can be provided to non-medics too, to save human lives. It is Dr Suchika Deshmukh’s vision that everyone must be taught to be proficient in BLS skills.

Advertisements

2018 – Ring in the New Year

wellness21

Images Courtesy Google 

Ring out the old, ring in the new, Ring, happy bells, across the snow. The year is going, let him go; Ring out the false, ring in the true”. Let 2018 be the year to inspire people to good health, good cheer and serenity. It is optimum physical fitness and vigour that can best be described as a precursor to all good things that one can work on to achieve. So let this be the year to bring on well-being, fitness, and inner tranquility that may help us enjoy the best of everything else this year.

HERD Foundation wishes good health to be the focal message for the year ahead. Let us begin the New Year with single mindedness towards making physical fitness a year round target. We can devote ourselves to this end by making good choices through diet, activity, and healthy routines to augment these overarching undertakings that will change our lives for the better.

All you would need to do is to build up reserves of your immense will power to prioritize yourself and your good health above everything else. It is very much possible to do this since the human body is so designed as to respond to health care at any age and at any point in time. Good physical care changes and revs up the body to gain the benefits of healthy eating, exercise, and proper care to make necessary alterations right down to our cells.

Alongside, let mindful serenity become the signature tune for 2018. Read books, enjoy music and at every opportunity relax in Mother Nature’s arms. Enjoy the kind of physical activity that suits you. Enjoy simple strolling down the street. Put away the digital devices for some time and enjoy the company of fellow beings around you. Sing your heart out – whether in the shower or a karaoke.

What you need to in-build inside your psyche is to feel good!  Research suggests that any form of movement or activity of any kind is essential for human well-being. Studies also say that people feel happiest when they are up and about and moving around compared to when they remain seated or remain still. So take up opportunities to get off that chair and move around.

As the year begins resolve to make yourself a better person – physically. Do the simple things that will lay the foundation in place for a rock solid support to your resolve. Here are tips that will help you to promote self-care and good health.

  • Mark out January each year to get a complete profile of your health status. It is important to know where you stand and to get a first-hand account of your medical condition – inside out. New Year is the time to focus on your health. Find the time to do this and maintain your health all year long.
  • Drink more water and less of other kind of drinks. You will feel energized and positive. It is essential to stay hydrated and many of us forget that water is the best drink around. Water levels are critical and staying hydrated will have drastic effects on your overall health.
  • Make it a point to sleep better. Lack of sleep is an underlying reason for health problems. From stress and anxiety to weight gain and low immunity – more problems erupt for lack of proper sleep. Resolve to plan out a strict sleep schedule and stick to it. Eat early dinners. Put away devices. Shut off the TV. Certain bodily functions occur only when the body is asleep that keep our health in good order.
  • Practice good mindful eating habits. Improve your diet patterns and eat healthy foods. Stick to your scheduled hours and eat authentic food. Mindful eating is to learn what to eat when you are hungry, and to know when to stop when you are full.

So let this New Year be the year when you transform yourself to become a new you.

Leveraging Talent for Social Sector

ilss-bg-1024x448

Mega-trends keep changing our world. Mega-trends are global macro-economic forces of development that impact economy, business, and society. In fact cultures and surprisingly even personal lives get transformed in the process. With the ever increasing pace of change we keep witnessing trends that revolutionize the entire world – globalization, digitization, climate change and so on.

Much has changed in the development sector too. The non-profit sector has moved on from its hoary past to see robust growth in recent years. Philanthropy is now duly combined with rational corporate approaches for the best interests of the social sector. Non-profits’ growth is essential for sustaining the laudable intents of the social sector, that really speaking does need to run along corporate lines.

Non-profit organizations are of course focused on their social purposes. But now its being better understood that they need not get carried away by their goodwill alone. While formerly their compassionate intent more-often-than-not overlooked keeping of systems and structures in place, they now realize that they themselves need to be inherently effectual, impactful and sustainable as well.

This is what drew HERD Educational & Medical Research Foundation to the India Leaders for Social Sector (ILSS) initiative undertaken by Central Square Foundation, (CSF) New Delhi. They are working to build the next generation of senior leaders for the development sector – a sector that has seen significant growth in the past decade. We found their aspirations for assisting non-profits to scale up, become sustainable and make more impact on the social sector extremely attractive.

Non-profits today actually need professional talent. This initiative is just what is needed to build up latent leadership or to acquire corporate talent to infuse fresh blood into the social sector. We are happy about this changing trend where institutions are addressing this endemic issue – scaling up talent! To bridge this gap CSF and ILSS have built strategies to attract top corporate talent from middle and upper management to play key roles in non-profit organisations.

It is true that skeptical public perception and swelling government restrictions leave NGOs in an implausible position. The time could not have been more opportune for this kind of initiative to have come up. It offers an immense opportunity to influence professionals and specialists to be made available for working in the social sector and lend their expertise. All over the world non-profits are infusing purpose, process and professionalism into the passion that initially brought individuals and institutions into the fold of the social sector. Civil society structures are now adapting to the corporate world methodologies for long term outcomes.

HERD Foundation is looking to forge connections with ILSS to partner in this formidable vision to inspire, empower, and enable high quality talent to play leadership roles in the development sector. We take this opportunity to inform their collaboration with Indian School of Development Management (ISDM) to offer a series of 9-day programs aimed to help senior leadership make meaningful transitions into the social sector. Interested individuals and institutions may connect for the purpose by clicking on the links shared below:

info@indialeadersforsocialsector.com

http://www.indialeadersforsocialsector.com

ILSS is building a platform to highlight developments in the sector: its opportunities and challenges. A repository of information, the platform will encourage knowledge sharing and collaboration, showcase success stories from the sector, benchmark best practices, address perceptions and highlight leadership role models. By identifying opportunities, challenges and rewards of the social sector, the ILSS platform aims to create an informed movement of leadership talent for the sector.”

The Organic Way

images

The ICAR-National Bureau of Soil Survey and Land Use Planning (NBSS&LUP) has identified areas in our country that hold high potential for organic farming. This literally works very well as a ground rule for HERD Organic Farms because the fact is that as per the geo-spatial digital map showing organic carbon stock in the soils of all states, this region of Maharashtra is indeed good for natural organic farming.

HERD Organic Farms is keen to facilitate and dedicate efforts for organic agriculture. The farm team collaborates in the organic processes for cultivation of crops, production of organic manure, undertaking crop rotation, product selection and dissemination of organic farming methods. Farm hands are taught to learn and adopt organic farming techniques, production of green/ organic manure, and use of natural pesticides and herbicides.

The past three years have seen HERD Organic Farms emerge as a trusted source for organic food. With up-to-date documentation on sustainable agriculture practice and soil health, the farm team, led by farm manager Mr Anil Khare, collaborate with organic farming practitioners and academic fraternity to fill gaps in our knowledge. HOF envisions improved health for the soil and its people with due conversion of organic agricultural methodologies.

Operations had begun in March 2015 with the aim to create a model-farm to act as a teaching-learning center for organic farming. In time we hope to scale up efforts to become an example to be followed by farmers in the region. We hope to inspire particularly those farmers who remain uncertain or unconvinced about the concept. We want them to look upon organic farming as a viable venture. It is hoped that they would eventually be persuaded to go the organic way.

Our goal is really to contribute to healthy living for everyone. This is why our major focus is on developing and nurturing in-house organic components so as to strengthen the concept of creating a model organic farm in the region.  With the emphasis on using cost effective methods for organic farming, we also use high-tech innovative ideas on the farm.

We take every opportunity to spread awareness of the benefits of organic produce and the dire consequences of eating unhealthy chemical laden foods. On the farmland we make our own manure and pesticides in a bid to retain soil health. We also ensure organic health of pollinator populations. Our home grown organic pesticides do not have impacts on pollinator health. In fact the diverse food crops benefit such pollinators with increase in food sources.

Actually the organic inputs prevent soil pathogen and keep the soil health in perfect order as proven by the soil tests we undertook. HERD Organic Farms continues to collaborate with the organic growers community to help ensure that the unique realities of organic farmers are better understood and considered by the larger fraternity and possibly to influence the future of organic farming in the region.

We keep intensifying our efforts to benefit both the land and the people. We truly believe the words of Anna Lappé, author and educator – “When we fight for organic food, it connects us to every living creature on the planet, from birds to frogs and pollinators—all those harmed by toxic pesticides”. We look ahead to another year of increased organic produce.

Soil Health

 

SOIL FACTS – AND WHY SOIL IS IMPORTANT

Soil is the network of interacting living organisms within the earth’s surface layer which support life above ground.

The nutritional value of the food we eat is directly related to the health of the soil in which it grows (or what it eats grows).

Management of agricultural soils should consider the structural, biological and mineral health of the soil (not just N, P, K) to produce nutritionally-dense food.

Soil has varying amounts of organic matter (living and dead organisms), minerals, and nutrients.

An average soil sample is 45% minerals, 25%, 25% air, and 5% organic matter (less in degraded soils).

Carbon is a master variable within the soil that controls many processes, such as development of soil structure, water storage and nutrient cycling.

Soil high in organic carbon content enables better rainfall infiltration & retention – providing greater resilience to drought.

Every gram of soil organic carbon can hold up to 8 grams of water.

Soils are vulnerable to carbon loss through degradation, but regenerative land management practices can build soil and restore soil health.

Soil erosion within conventional agricultural practices can occur at rates up to 100 times greater than the rate of natural soil formation.

Natural processes can take more than 500 years to form 2 centimeters of topsoil.

Soil carbon takes three distinct forms: living carbon, labile carbon and fixed carbon.

– Living carbon takes the form of microbes, fungi, plant roots, nematodes, earth worms etc.

– Labile carbon in the soil comprises decomposing (dead) plant and animal material that is in a state of transition.

– Fixed carbon in the soil consists of stable compounds as humates and glomalins.

…Sequestered Carbon comprises the fixed carbon plus the total living biomass.

Soil stores 10% of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions.

Around 95% of our food is directly or indirectly produced on our soils.

Soil microbes have a symbiotic relationship with plants – plants provide sugars to microbes and microbes make nutrients bio-available for plants.

Living organisms in soil ultimately control water infiltration, mineral density and nutrient cycling.

Fungi and bacteria help break down organic matter in the soil and earthworms digest organic matter, recycle nutrients, and make the surface soil richer.

In a handful of fertile soil, there are more individual organisms than the total number of human beings that have ever existed.

Soil is one of the most complex biological materials on our planet.

4be4e51088

Image Courtesy – Google

World Soil Day 2017 – ‘Caring for the Planet starts from the Ground’

4be4e51088

It was only in 2002 that the International Union of Soil Sciences or IUSS adopted a resolution proposing December 5 as World Soil Day to celebrate the importance of soil as a critical component of our natural resources. In truth natural soil is a vital contributor to human well being. Recognizing this fact FAO supports the formal establishment of World Soil Day by creating solidarity for Global Soil Partnership. Since 2012 FAO-GSP has been organizing awareness events for this important day.

HERD Organic Farms is diligent in raising awareness about World Soil Day. Soil is an essential resource and a vital part of our natural environment from which our food is produced. Human beings have survived because it is soil that nourished and nurtured generations. Alongside soil continues to provide living spaces for us humans. Importantly soil is critical in maintaining our essential ecosystem. It regulates water, climate and conserves biodiversity as well as enables carbon sequestration.

It is disheartening that in present times soils continue to be under pressure due to human factors. Increasing population and high demand of land-use for needs other than food cultivation remain two debilitating reasons. Industrialization and urbanization are directly responsible for ruining soils. Additionally 33% of global soils suffer from degradation. This is what brings FAO sponsored Global Soil Partnerships into play in order to have policy makers around the world explore opportunities to embrace sustainable development.

A global community of 60,000 soil scientists has been given the responsibility to generate and communicate soil knowledge for the common good of the world. World Soil Day observes the importance of soil as a critical component of our natural systems or growing food and ensuring biodiversity as well as containing climate change. The need is to promote the regenerative landscape for integrated management of soil, water, vegetation and biodiversity.

HERD Organic Farms supports the need for maintaining healthy soils. It is really very important so that we enable sustainable agricultural production which is ultimately good for the environment and human health. The way things are going now soon soil may be a finite natural resource. We dread the day when it may even become non-renewable. It would do well for us all to remember that soil plays an essential role in our wellbeing.

Climate change and desertification are increasingly degrading soil worldwide. Our own environs are getting affected by power-plants and factories that spew forth pollutants that add to further degradation of soil resources. It is time we worked towards mitigating inappropriate technologies to safeguard soils. Also we need to instill safer agri-management practices to replenish soils. With regard to population pressure we may do well by understanding about the carrying capacity of the land.

Soil organic carbon (SOC) forms the basis of soil health, fertility, and food production. A healthy soil with an ideal amount of SOC (the main component of soil organic matter) can provide optimal plant growing conditions, functional nutrient cycling and effective water infiltration and storage. Agricultural soils are among the planet’s largest reservoirs of carbon and hold potential for expanded carbon sequestration, and thus provide a prospective way of mitigating the increasing atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide.

World Soil Day 2017 therefore focuses on activities with the aim to communicate messages on the importance of soil quality for food security, healthy ecosystems and human well-being. The first ever Global Soil Organic Carbon map (GSOCmap) is being launched on World Soil Day 2017! The GSOC map is not just a map! It is also a comprehensive process that supports the development and empowerment of national capacities to build their national soil information systems. Please click on the link to open the GSOCmap web application:

http://www.fao.org/world-soil-day/worldwide-events/en/

Ensuring Organic Futures

 

 

Organic Farming is spreading like a revolution not only in our country but in the entire world today. In fact the roots of revival of organic farming can be traced back to India! It was Albert Howard and his wife Gabrielle Howard, both skillful botanists, who founded the Institute of Plant Industry at Indore to improve traditional farming methods in pre-independent India.

Working with local farmers they found they had much to learn from them. And so it was that alongside scientific knowledge they incorporated local traditional methods like crop rotation practices, erosion prevention techniques, and use of composts and manures. Upon return to Britain they carried back these experiences to propagate natural agriculture. Albert Howard is one of the key founders of modern organic agriculture.

Consumer’s today are increasingly getting health cautious regarding their diet. This is an important aspect for transformation of farming practices to benefit the land and the people. Organic food produce having high nutritive value and absence of chemicals, potential carcinogenic and mutagenic properties is preferred over conventional agroproducts cultivated by using insecticides, pesticides and chemical fertilizers.

Realizing the high potential of organic farming techniques for the land and its people, HERD Organic Farms was established in March 2015. HOF is practicing organic farming techniques over the past three years on its 40 acres farmland located at village Chargaon, 60 kms from Nagpur city. The ultimate aim of the enterprise is to extend knowledge of organic cultivation practices to benefit neighboring rural farmers in a bid to spread awareness and increase organic food production. It is also to build a momentum for the demand of organic produce.

With gaining popularity of organic produce and a steady buildup of a consumer base willing to pay a premium price, it is important to extend the cost advantage for the benefit of conventional agriculturists. HOF therefore hopes to develop a farming community that adopts organic farming on a mass scale to target niche markets for organic food produce.

Realizing the need to improve the health of the land and the people, HOF joined hands to become part of organic grower’s fraternity in Nagpur city.  Eventually the plan is to scale up a cooperative of organic farmers to facilitate organic food production and processing for supply to existing markets. It is hoped that with due expansion adjoining rural farmers may be included for propagation of organic farming.

HERD Organic Farms was established to promote a system of farming without use of synthetic fertilizers or chemical sprays. It was envisioned right from the start to maintain soil fertility through livestock compost, green manures, crop rotation, and mulching. Setting up cutting-edge net-shed cultivation alongside open field agriculture, we aim for methods that are sustainable and ecological to ensure long-term fertility and wholesome food for us and for future generations.

We remain committed to organic practices to safeguard human health and the environment. To achieve this we need to change mindsets to introduce the philosophy and practice of organic farming. This is what motivates us to step up awareness for organic produce to create a world that will sustain life. We will continue to maintain the soil health of our unique planet.

In order to go about doing this we need to develop ongoing relationships between ourselves as organic growers and the economic system. One of the major challenges till date is fixing premium pricing for organic produce vis-à-vis chemically laced food. We still need to develop farming systems that produce the necessary quantity and quality of food so that we make it economically viable for all. For in all certainty organic farming is the future.