Cultivating Crops, Community, and a Sustainable Economy
Every morning at 5 a.m., Dr. S. Renganathan travels 45 kilometers to his farm to check his crops and cattle, speak to his farm workers, and do other barnyard chores. About two hours later, Dr. Renganathan, scrubbed and sanitized, may be performing complicated obstetric surgery or delivering babies at his hospital in Dharmapuri, India. Afterwards, it’s over to his solar drying facility to begin dehydrating fresh, local produce to use in fruit bars and candies.
“My day usually ends around midnight. I only get five hours of sleep,” said Dr. Renganathan. “But I’m happy because I’m producing something for my community.”
When Dr. Renganathan first ventured from the medical sphere into the world of farming, his goal was to provide his community with healthy, organic produce. Today, Dr. Renganathan provides his region with much more than quality fruits and vegetables. With the recent addition of his solar drying facility, Dr. Renganathan gives his community an improved quality of life. Dr. Renganathan’s solar dryers, developed with high-tech polycarbonates from Covestro, significantly reduce post-harvest loss and provide a stable income for approximately 1,000 farmers in southern India.
As part of our interview series “You Can’t Feel Comfortable Leaving Your Comfort Zone. Why Not?”, Baratunde Thurston spoke to Dr. Renganathan to learn how his agricultural endeavors challenge his comfort zone, build new comfort zones for his community, and generate hope for technology to create a more comfortable world for us all.