… among the most ambitious projects underway in India to counter the expansion of animal agriculture are the Kindness Farms funded by Australian investment banker and vegan philanthropist Phil Wollen.
The Kindness Farms might be described as a hybrid of Gandhian ideals with the notion that doing good can at least break even, and perhaps inspire profitable business ventures.
“We have inaugurated our latest Kindness Farm in Visakhapatnam,” Wollen e-mailed on January 29, 2012. “It is huge, attractive, and productive,” raising “fruit, vegetables, feed-grasses, and flowers,” as well as housing rescued cattle, buffalos, dogs, and horses.
“Kindness Farms will produce significant quantities of organic food, which is almost impossible to buy in India,” Wollen said. “Organic vegetables and fruit command a high premium in all the Indian cities. So we will soon acquire a retail outlet and will sell our produce directly to rich Indians at a premium. The money will be used to support our animals. The food will be branded Kindness Fresh Foods.
“We have also launched our fourth Kindness Mobile Restaurant, feeding hot vegan meals to impoverished street people,” Wollen continued. “The recipients are encouraged to see the food not as charity but as a stipend. They already share the streets and their meager meals with the street dogs. So we ask them to keep their eyes open. If they see puppies being born, or a man whipping a horse, or a lorry hitting a cow, they should call our shelter and we will send our ambulance. This idea is gaining traction in the community.
“We have committed to a third Kindness Farm in Bangalore, within the Morning Star orphanage,” Wollen added. “It is already productive–sown, nurtured, harvested, cleaned and cooked by the orphans.”
An older Kindness Farm in Puttaparthi “is growing massively,” Wollen said. “The food is sold in our organic shop on the main street. We have decided that every Kindness Farm will now have a Kindness Kitchen,” Wollen finished, “which will provide a hot meal to all the shelter staff and animal herders before they start the day. This means we are assured that they have a full stomach, a healthy vegetarian meal, and good health. They also become very loyal employees. We have also decided to employ as many people as possible from the local village and teach them trades. We also intend to educate their children and teach the parents to read.”
Countless charitable projects have tried to alleviate animal and human suffering in India. There is no guarantee that the Kindness Farms will be more successful than many that have long since failed and been forgotten. But just as Sir Sardar Datar Singh understood that he had to develop and make an economic success of his own dairy farm before he could influence government policy, Wollen understands the importance of demonstrating his ideas before prescribing them.
~ Thanks to Merritt Clifton of Animal People – www.animalpeoplenews.org – for this news.
Phil Wollen’s excellent initiatives can be viewed at:
Please also visit www.vspca.org – one of the most inspiring of sanctuaries and very worthy of support.