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When all trees have been cut down, when all animals have been hunted, when all waters are polluted, when all air is unsafe to breathe, only then will you discover you cannot eat money. - Cree Prophecy

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Solitude farm & workshop!

So the 10 days of workshop is over and our mind still lingers on those days..
Hard to come out of such an educative and interesting 10 full fun days..
The Solitude farm is one of the many attractive farms within Auroville and is a marvel. This 6 acre organic farm is yet to be fully natural in Krishna Mckenzie’s words. But it’s a fully integrated and sustainable farm with well oiled systems n practices. U name it, u have it here: rice, peanuts, sesame, vegetables, orchard, ulundu, dal, and esp. millets like kambu, samai, varagu, tinai and ragi. We feasted on Samai and varagu (2 fantastic and healthy millets) dishes many days.
One can imagine the planning one needs to get them all in time and periodically. Add to that the manual labour and all other inputs (even though its mostly natural farming.)
Krishna is one of those rare persons (from India) to have worked with Fukuoka the great -the father of natural farming (and organic too in many ways). Krishna also had Fukuoka san's prime disciples visit Solitude.
Krishna is such an enterprising character - bubbly and joyous always. This Brit speaks so good Tamil, one is really floored the first instant itself. He even freaks out with tamil proverbs and refers himself (and some of his friends too) as ‘vellaikaran’ (tamil slang for gora/ whiteman) in a very funny manner. Its so much fun to work with him. No wonder he gets so many volunteers to help him at various times of the year and most keep in regular touch. Such a warm person that he is, even while we bid farewell he just said “don’t even make a call to inform me, just come in any time you feel like..we always have place for visitors”.
That reminds me the exotic places of stay we as volunteers get to live in. W and me stayed in a tree house. Otherwise u have the plenty of capsules ( the ones with keeth/ interlaced coconut leaves roofs ) with stylish windows that open with pulley system – a very natural and aesthetic place to stay.
The whole farm in all ways is natural, like the rooms to stay as said above, 2 pit dry compost toilet, food made from its own produce mostly, water pumped by a wind mill and the only light in the whole farm lit by solar power (or batteries charged from the solar power). So its totally off the grid in all senses and an amazingly functional place.
We did various activities like de-weeding, cutting remnant grasses of the previous season’s rice, sowing, transplanting, making beds for new vegetable garden, soak pit / kitchen garden, clay balls ( seeds are encased in a ball of clay which protects the seeds from the drying , rodents, birds and insects until the next rains help it catch up), moving compost etc. Sowing itself will be in different styles and time consuming.
Its not a joke folks! Its real hard work and if you factor in the sun and heat, its mind boggling. Gym, work outs etc don’t come near this and what a pity we all tend to ignore this tuff labour behind each of the produce we so easily consume!
We also visited various other interesting farms and around auroville, about which another post shall come in days to come. As for the much talked features like cobras, scorpions etc- there were some..but they minded their business as we did ours. So no incidents/ accidents!
To cap it all the other attendees were all gems and people of tremendous achievements and to share their passion, actions, adventures more than made our days, each day, inspite of being long tired ones. A complete and consummate workshop that was!
Oh yeah, fotos! Didn’t carry a camera so am dependent on a couple of friends to send me the ones they took. Once I receive them you will have them all here. Till then just imagine how hard I wud have worked and how beautiful and serene the whole place wud have been

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