Connecting to nature has become such an important aspect of my life. The older I grow the more I come to realise the importance of it. It helps me get grounded. It stimulates my senses. So, I took a quick break from the city to visit Herb Nepal to get to know more about agriculture in Nepal and herbal processing. Especially after writing my last post on Natural Wellness this all came about in perfect timing. The work that this company is doing is remarkable and benefits so many people directly and indirectly and I also got to learn so much.
My stay at Herb Nepal was exactly what the doctor ordered! I was completely soaked in as though falling into your mothers embrace as a child. Their farm and farm stays are surrounded by lush forest enjoying nature’s own sounds, smells and sights. With no Internet connection and no phone reception, it was the perfect time for me to connect with nature and myself.
Greeted by Herb Nepal’s management team (Sudeep, Mandira and Drona) and co-founder Ben, we sat together over freshly picked lemongrass tea. Only 4 years old, the farm is spread over 20 ropani (that’s something over 10,000 m2!) and has two gorgeous cabins for guests. They are built using rammed earth – literally a mixture of water, soil, sandy soil or stone dust and a bit of cement compressed by ramming – making it a sustainable, eco-friendly and earthquake resistant structure. It also somewhat mimics the way traditional Nepali houses were built.
Herb Nepal | A Sustainable & Ethical Business Model
Ben explained how Herb Nepal is based on a 3-pillar business model: training centre, herbal products and farm stays. The organisation has trained over 60 farmers in organic farming, permaculture and herb processing, and currently employs 10 local staff in hospitality, farmer trainers and farming.
Herb Nepal is actually a for-profit based in Nepal but unlike a traditional business that looks at their bottom line, they measure business performance based on a triple bottom line – social, environmental and financial. The social and environmental impact is a core measure of what they do. The organisation’s income comes from these three revenues so they don’t have to rely on donor funding. Income is reinvested into the farmer-training programme to maximise impact and ensure continued success.
“We aim to get our products into hotels in Nepal. So, tourists coming to Nepal use products that contain organic herbs grown by Nepalese farmers, which incentivise farmers to grow organically and benefit Nepal in the long-run. Currently, chemically-produced products are imported from other countries rather than using superior products available locally.”
Simone Alexander, Co-Founder, Herb Nepal
This year, the training will be rolled out to other local trainers with the aim to reach thousands of farmers over the next two years. The aim is to provide access to an alternative to conventional, chemical farming; transitioning to organic and sustainable land-use techniques instead. Through this, Herb Nepal is also able to scale up their herbal products business and provide farmers with a growing market for their produce.
Each of the wooden, cosy cabins is equipped with Koseli products made by Herb Nepal. No water is wasted; everything goes back to the gardens, therefore imperative that your water waste remains organic and feeds back to the earth.
Koseli, the brand name given to the herbal products, means ‘gift’ in Nepali. This is exactly what these products are, gifts from farmers across Nepal. Koseli’s product range includes Aloe Vera Shampoo bar, Watercress and Equisetum Conditioning bar, Lemongrass Body Bars, Neem Body bars, Nettle and Spearmint body bars and has recently launched men’s shaving and beard bars.
Farm Stay Activities
Whilst unwinding and connecting to yourself is an activity in itself, there are some activities guests can participate in which is interesting for any type of guest and definitely amazing if you’re there with children. I took a 20-minute walk to the nearby temple where you can see both Hindu and Buddhist devotees gathering for prayer and making offerings to the gods. This place is particularly busy on Saturday mornings.
If you have some time you can get your hands dirty in harvesting the herbs. This way you really get to know your herbs, their smells and textures. They grow a variety of herbs and plants such as Lemongrass, lemon balm, spearmint, peppermint, aloe vera, nettle, sage, neem and so much more. The team will get in touch with your before your arrival to discuss the possibilities and activities you can participate in; this makes your experience so much richer. Ram, Maya, Anisha and Bishnu Maya oversee guest activities as well as the farmer training programme and main farm activities. You will be in good hands.
Waking up at Herb Nepal is nothing less amazing than their business model. I woke up gradually with soft sunrays lighting up the wooden cabin. This golden hour was so serene. Take this time for a short walk around the farm, or dive into your morning rituals whilst soaking in the natural magic that surrounds you.
Herb Nepal’s eco farm stays are a perfect getaway into nature whilst learning a lot about permaculture and sustainable living, herbs and their uses, and how a business can make a positive impact on the community.
Highly recommended! **Book your stay at Herb Nepal**
You can also get involved! Herb Nepal is now looking to create an educational learning space for people to find out more about the world around us. If you want to share your skills and creativity to support this initiative check out the Creatives
**This is an affiliate link with trvl.com. If you make a booking with Herb Nepal via this link I may receieve a small commission that doesn’t affect the price for your stay. Trvl.com still ensures you are getting the best price from its sources.
FACTS on the impact of chemical farming
Deaths: 200,000 deaths per year occur due to chemical use and over 90% occur in low developed countries such as Nepal
Climate Vulnerability: “More than 1.9 million people [in Nepal] are highly climate vulnerable and 10 million are increasingly at risk” (GoN 2010, p.27). These environmental challenges are exasperated by current farming practices such as dangerous levels of chemical use, overgrazing, deforestation, lack of farming alternatives, encouragement of conventional farming methods (i.e. chemicals) by market demands and soil erosion.
Food Security: An estimated 124 million people across 51 countries are facing a food insecurity crisis (Food Security Information Network, 2018). According to the WFP, Country Brief (July 2018) 4.6 million people are food insecure, and 1.4 million are pregnant and nursing women being classified as malnourished. By mobilising small-scale farmers to grow sustainably and organically we can secure healthy food sources for the future, which is vital for the survival of humanity.
The UN’s Special Rapporteur, Hilal Elver (2017) was damning in her report about conventional farming. The report argues “Reliance on hazardous pesticides is a short-term solution that undermines the rights to adequate food and health for present and future generations”. This view is fully supported by the experience and daily realities of the farmers that Herb Nepal works alongside.
Are you travelling to Nepal? Experience an authentic farm stay at HERB NEPAL –> CLICK HERE
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If you are interested in knowing more on how you can incorporate more natural wellness through herbs and essential oils see my previous blog post “Natural Wellness | 4 Reasons to make a switch”. It includes some information on AMAZING RESOURCES that you can also get your hands on!