Natural farming or Zero budget farming is an ecological farming approach traditionally practiced in many parts of India, and Kerala has a rich heritage in this stream. It basically involves the cultivation of local breeds of homestead vegetables, fruit trees etc. which can be nurtured by the plants themselves in an open, natural system. No imported fertilizers or pesticides are needed as food waste or ash within the households can well do the functions in much minimal cost. It is not a large scale agriculture system, rather a self-maintained, sustainable, small holder ecosystem.
To conserve the traditional natural farming practices, TIES has been working on research programmes on cultivation of crops, fruit plants, medicinal plants, timber and fruit trees, rearing domesticated animals, cultivation or rearing practices, pest and weed control measures, harvesting techniques, and post harvest storage techniques. TIES campus has model plots in conducting research on all these fields. Besides these, regular training programmes, seminars and workshops are also in the schedule. The collection and distribution of seeds, saplings and tissue cultured products of native plants and distribution of native breeds of cows, goat, pig, duck and poultry are also carried out by TIES.
Training programmes for farmers and those who wish to grow fruit plants, medicinal plants, food plants or native breeds of poultry, cattle, goat and duck in their home yard can attend these programmes and avail the services.