From planting a medicinal forest and digging up a mud pool to building earthbag structures at their farm and forest parenting, there is perhaps nothing that Venetia and Gautam Kotamraju haven’t attempted.
Initially, the family would take weekend trips to Sakleshpur, the quaint hill station in Karnataka known for its plantations and coffee, and live in tents inside the jungle.
However, over a period of time, they realised that this could be a permanent way of life for them.
The couple eventually purchased a patch of land in Sakleshpur, and the weekend trips graduated to a life with bare essentials.
While Gautam would head to Sakleshpur on weekends from Bengaluru because of his job, Venetia and their sons embraced this minimalist lifestyle with open arms.
Starting with just a tent, some sleeping linen and water a few years ago, their lifestyle at the farm, which they named ‘The Wild Side,’ slowly began to include simple yet vital sustainable practices.
Today, if you visit the farm, you will find a vegetable garden, a mud pool as well as old shipping containers being used for storage. Venetia shares that they don’t hire farm hands for any of the work. It is mostly handled by them, and once in a while, some volunteers drop in to lend a hand.
Among the best example of their sustainable practices on the farm are the basic mud buildings that are made using earthbags.
Venetia reaffirms that having broken free from the trappings of urban life, returning to the city will never quite again bring them the joy that their sylvan lifestyle does.
Reference: The Better India