An MSc in Physics, Barve, till then, had stayed away from farming despite his family owning land in Vita. He decided to opt for organic farming of grapes on an acre of land. He read books, met up with experts and after using vermicompost for a year, observed that the soil’s nutrient quality, as well as carbon and potash levels, had increased with organic farming. Not only was his grape crop excellent, but it also encouraged him to make vermicompost on a larger scale.
“We bought vegetable market waste from the Vita Municipal Council for three years to make vermicompost for our farm. Our grapes were best in class and exported. But around that time I read that directly adding organic carbon to the soil leads to natural worm growth and there is no need for separate vermiculture,” recollects 77-year-old Barve, who now practices organic farming over 30 acres, cultivating fruits like mango, banana and sapodilla (chikoo), vegetables as well as cereal grains.