Rooted in the Nilgiris and fostering global movements in Conservation, Enterprise, and Livelihood


The Nilgiris Foundation Inc. (TNF), is a not-for-profit established internationally to create awareness, share knowledge, and build bridges between eco-development initiatives in the Nilgiris Biosphere Reserve and the rest of the world.

TNF, a sister concern of Keystone Foundation, is an inclusive platform that leverages Keystone Foundation’s 30 years of experience in grassroots education and sustainable living. The food festival kicks off a stream of similar events which will be led by TNF to create experiences, awareness, and cross-cultural partnerships in the areas of conservation and livelihoods. The objective of the festival is to open a dialogue and bring awareness to the importance of wild, local and seasonal foods, and conservation and sustainability in the food production industry, in a climate-changed future.

The Nilgiris, or the Blue Mountains, is located in the Western Ghats of TamilNadu in southern India. Home to over 30 percent of the country’s endemic flora and fauna, it has been recognized as one of the world’s ten biodiversity hotspots by the United Nations.

NBR is also an ethnographically significant region. It has a number of indigenous Adivasi communities—the Todas, Kotas, Paniyas, Irulas, Kurumbas, Cholanaikkans, Kuruchiyans, Mullukurumbas, Adiyans, and Alyars. Most of them are dependent on forests and natural ecosystems for their livelihoods.

Our Vision
Our Vision

TNF exists to support and expand the mission of eco-development in India by mobilizing resources, advocacy, and developing partnerships in the US.

Our Mission
Our Mission

TNF works towards fostering a global movement to create and occupy an environment that is both sustainable and just.

Community and Conservation

As an antidote to the rapid urbanisation of the Nilgiris that is quietly eroding the landscape and disrupting the traditional way of life of its people, we design and support culturally and ecologically sensitive enterprises that enable livelihoods.

Our areas of engagement, research and innovation are centred around Ecology, Economy and Equity, and include Food, Land, Communities, Water, Forests, Livelihoods

Kind Words

Jeffrey Campbell
Former Senior Program Officer, Ford Foundation; Grant Director, The Christensen Fund and Senior Program Officer FAO

The term "keystone" is used to describe fundamentally important elements of ecosystems that help to ensure their continuity and integrity. The Nilgiri Foundation supports a true Keystone organization and they need keystone funding partners. If you want to be part of real and meaningful work which is actually grounded in a true partnership with local Adivasi (Indigenous Peoples) communities and oriented to the conservation and restoration of a major biocultural landscape in a scientifically sincere and ethically rooted way, They have measurable impacts and make an actual difference - one that can be scaled up and replicated - with help from an expanding network of partners and change-makers. I strongly urge you to "join the team".

Neema Kudva
Professor, City and Regional Planning, AAP, Cornell University

We’ve been collaborating with the Keystone Foundation on the Nilgiris Field Learning Center (NFLC) for over a decade. The NFLC is an innovative, transdisciplinary experiment that brings together young people from the Adivasi communities of the Nilgiris and students from any discipline, any study at Cornell. Central to our collaboration is Keystone’s willingness to adapt, to learn from our collective successes and failures while holding true to core commitments and values. They’ve been a truly wonderful partner. I urge you to consider a donation to The Nilgiri Foundation, which will support many such experiments and allow Keystone and their community partners to continue their work of keeping the Nilgiris Biosphere a vibrant thriving ecosystem.

Jack Tordoff
Managing Director, Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund

Of our more than 60 grantees in India, the Keystone Foundation stands out by being rooted in the priorities, traditional knowledge, and production systems of the Adivasi peoples of the Nilgiris mountains, while, at the same time, applying cutting-edge thought and practice from around the world to address local challenges. We applaud the creation of The Nilgiris Foundation, as a vehicle to support the essential, transformative work of the Keystone Foundation and its sister organizations.

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