This profile was prepared when Shree Padre was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2002.
The New Idea
Shree Padre is promoting self-help journalism among farmers in Karnataka. His "Pen in the Farmer's Hand" movement allows farmers to trade information on agriculture and related subjects, giving a new voice to traditional wisdom. He recognizes that, collectively, farmers know how to solve the various problems they face; what they have lacked is a system for sharing their experiences and techniques with one another. Spotting the demand for clear, reliable information, Shree Padre reasoned that farmers could teach each other what works and what doesn't, so he began encouraging them to write. He organized short courses in journalism in various parts of Karnataka, and took teams on field trips to cover innovative methods. Their efforts have given birth to Adike Patrike, the first farmer-produced journal.