SOFA members strongly advocate that farmers must produce their own manure. But when new members want to shift to organic and lack resources, they can also request support from women community enterprises that have developed in the course of the organic movement.

Kanchana Muralidharan, who won the district’s best progressive woman farmer award last year, started a community-based vermicompost unit with twelve other women in 2008 and underwent training for the purpose. “It was important to have our own cow to start this. NABARD gave us a cow loan for 15,000 rupees. Today, each member has a cow and sells milk for an additional income,” she explains. “When new members enrol, they take orders from us for providing vermicompost and earthworms to them through SOFA to start organic farming. We also supply these to the neighbouring villages on orders.” The women work for one to two hours a day for 15 days a month, earning Rs 250–300.