Making Diwali a guilt-free and conscious celebration this year, Peepal Farm — a stray animal recovery centre and organic farm nestled in the foothills of the Himalayas (in Dhanotu near Dharamsala in Himachal Pradesh) — is offering Diwali hampers that are filled with love and handmade vegan products straight from their kitchen, packed artistically in colourful potlis, created from upcycled fabric.
Shivani Kohli and her husband Robin Singh founded Peepal Farm four years ago, which comprises of a stray animal recovery centre, now home to over 40 strays, with the couple also facilitating their adoption.
For the last few weeks, 38-year-old Kohli and her team of women workers are dishing out treats using ingredients grown in their organic farm. The Diwali potlis and jars have a variety of tasty surprises — peanut butter, vegantella (chocolate sauce), organic chai masala, poha, muesli, almond butter, seed butter (made using five varieties of healthy seeds), banana chips and pure turmeric.
“The hampers are not only attractive, but also affordable, with an aim to encourage people to choose a healthy gifting option this festive season and also spread the word on not using plastic and opting for environment-friendly packaging. For making cloth potlis to wrap hampers, we requested friends to give us old sarees, kurtas and other fabrics,” explains Kohli.
The couple, both vegans, moved from the US to set up Peepal Farm, for they felt for the cause. “My husband worked as a software engineer and I was in the field of e-commerce and we decided to do something concrete to reduce the pain and suffering of animals,” says Kohli.
Mimi, a sheep came to the shelter with severe face infection, abandoned by a shepherd and is now recovering, while Pablo, a pig was rescued from a slaughter house, as was Sanju, the goat. “We have a full-time vet and volunteers can stay with us if they want to serve animals. We also have a dog-catching team. Women workers who help us in kitchen are from financially weaker background and some are working to support their education,” says Kohli.
The larger idea and philosophy of Peepal Farm is to foster a group of independent people who can work towards improving the current situation of animals, whether it’s directly working with animals or human welfare coupled with fostering compassion for animals.
“Our gift hampers of vegan, healthy and nutritious goodies are a step and way to celebrate a compassionate and caring Diwali and create consciousness towards these issues among people,” adds Singh.