After two long flights to India, through Heathrow, we have arrived in India, safe and sound, if a bit tired. On day one, the wonderful staff and faculty at Madras Christian College, our first hosts, have fed us and kept us busy despite our desire to sleep through the day. Three great meals, a couple of meetings, work on getting our communications up and running (mobile phones, internet, etc.), and an afternoon tour of campus in the heat and humidity all ensure a good night’s sleep.
My family and I are up early. Amy and Evelyn have gone for a walk and I am catching up on blog site issues. A quick post about our first day seemed in order. Most notable on the campus tour was the MCC farm, which has a couple of new features in addition to the vermiculture facility, the piggery (best pork in Chennai according to one of our guides), apiculture, fish breeding facility, and other assorted livestock. Last year a solar farm was created on the site, which our guides claim will produce about 50% of MCC’s electricity needs when completed. One of our Furman students noted that Furman University’s solar farm is bigger and yet produces only about 1% of Furman’s electricity needs. This says something about electricity consumption in the US vs. India.
Another addition is the replacement of maize with a mango orchard. Apparently, much of the corn grown on campus was doing little more than feeding the spotted deer, so they’ve switched to mangoes. Unfortunately, we’re about 5 years from the trees producing fruit. They should grow quickly when irrigated with water from their manure-decomposition pond, which is a kind of wastewater treatment facility. Hog manure sits in the water, begins to break down and the nutrient-rich water is then used to water the crops. One aspect of the farm is used to enhance another aspect of the farm. Industrial ecology applied to the farm.