Here is a quick run on the story of pointReturn: 18 acres of utterly barren, sloping land was bought in 2006. The aim was to restore it to provide the water, food, energy and cash needs of 40 people. It was to be created with funds available at a personal level. The point was to prove that no great funding or subsidies are required. The whole was to be protected forever as an eco-commune with volunteer residents and activity groups. Thus the key is not money but people and their commitment.
Work began immediately.The land was fenced off, an access road laid, a wind pump to lift water was installed, shelters and facilities were built, solar electric power arrived, a rain water harvesting [RWH] scheme was surveyed for and water bodies began to be created in 2007 and completed in 2012. Trees have been regularly planted from 2007. The progress was documented at this site and the project began to attract interest.
Karpagam, Sriram and Siddarth joined pointReturn in 2010 and food growing began at once, albeit slowly given the paucity of water, poor soil and limited manpower.
In 2012 the pointReturn Trust was created.
As on date, the land has an extensive RWH scheme to trap 3 million litres of water per rainy season, resulting in little run-off and no soil erosion. Close to a 1,000 trees in about 80 varieties have been planted. Vegetable and field crops are grown in about 1.5 acres. The land is responding to the care. Encouraged by the freedom from chemicals, the silence, water bodies and many fruit trees, about 38 bird species have been sighted on the land thus far. About 4 acres of land remain to planted.
D V Sridharan withdrew from active participation in 2012. It is now cared for by Karpagam, Sriram and Siddarth, who live on the land. Annamalai, an elder of the village continues his association and to give valuable counsel.
In the following sections I have expanded on the summary above for those seeking more details. Brace yourself- it’s a long, long read and it may have more than what you care to know! The long post ends with an assessment of where the project is now, where it hopes to head and the issues it must overcome to do that.