Newsletter Issue 3 2012

Welcome to this special issue for the winter equinox 2012

3 wise cows
‘Three Wise Cows…’

Co-create a new world

Today has been talked about and anticipated by many for a long time.  Three significant events happen today:  1. It is the end of the Mayan long count  calendar. 2. There is a significant alignment of the planets that hasn’t happened for almost 26,000 years. 3. It’s the winter solstice!

Some are hyped up to think the world will end today, some think there will be a major shift in consciousness on our planet.   Whatever happens, we feel humanity and the planet need to see major changes if we are to evolve and continue.  Let’s make today a time when the world of war, hate, destruction and greed ends, and shift our consciousness to becoming co-creators of the world in which we live.  Every person can do this! Here are some ways on becoming a conscious consumer.

Co-creating a new world:  On the farm, we have been co-creating the world in which we wish to live on the farm for these past 3 years or so, creating and demonstrating a realm of possibility, coupled with experiments and celebration.

Farm volunteers climb Mandagni with Kishor from the farm, as their guide.

We are healing the barren soil, creating balanced eco-systems, uniting with the community, farming with nature instead of against it and seeking ways to make small-scale agriculture work for farmers who are close to despair and poverty. With this creates a platform for innovative young people – graduate engineers, scientists and spiritual sustainability seekers to find ways to contribute to the vision, who undergo their own shift in consciousness just by being involved.

A new seedbank is born at Saha Astitva
Agricultural post-grads develop a simple seed saving system for the farm

We’re aiming to create a better world, a world that works for everyone.  A world where we understand how to make conscious choices in everything we consume.  Those conscious choice impact our personal health, poverty reduction, the health of the soils, the water we will ultimately drink, the air we breathe and our overall sense of well-being.  Read our article by Durga on how our consumer choices co-create the world in which we live, reminding us that the power is in our hands to make change through those choices.

Many people visit the farm and go away having learned something.  Our own Kalyani (otherwise known as Karen!), an engineering graduate, believes we are in fact working in natural engineering and draws parallels between the 1st and 2nd law of thermodynamics, farming and yoga…!

Volunteers: Volunteers come and make fantastic contributions, like post graduate agricultural scientists, Deborah and Amelie’s rural seed bank.  The trend continues with Utsav, an engineering graduate form IIT in Mumbai, who joins us to take forwards our value-added food processing trials.

This will help us to create value-addition on site making the economics even more favorable.

Utsav; what a sweet potato!

Durga (otherwise known as Drea), from French-Canada joins us for her organic farming internship with our NGO. She will learn and contribute to many of the activities of the work, developing the ultimate kitchen garden for rural villagers and helping out wherever she can and helping manage all the broad diversity of visitors to the farm.  She shares her initial impressions of arriving in Ganeshpuri and the farm after three years of excited anticipation of coming to India.

We sadly say goodbye to Deborah and Amilie who joined for 2 months with open hearts and minds, who fully embraced their internships, the Indian culture and tribal community and are missed by all. And Fran Bonham who worked at Learning Space but lived on the farm, whose world took on new meaning as her world view expanded. But we have many more wonderful volunteers who are with us and will be coming soon.  In fact our volunteering positions are full for quite some time now!

Skills update: And now our people on the farm, the Warli adivasi youth, in whose community we have settled are making great strides in their work. Bhushan, Laxman and Vijay are well on the way to being skilled organic farmers. Kishor begins a driving course!

farm boys

Vision  We are beginning to see a green future for the amazing Tansa Valley and working towards the following vision.  From Mandagni mountain in the north-east, to Tungareshwar wildlife sanctuary in the South West, we envision a green valley planted with abundant organic agriculture with a thriving local community around.  The geothermal sensitive zone of the Tansa valley, naturally protected from the watersheds planted with organic mixed trees and paddy crops; Biodiversity, soil and eco-systems restored.  An area where the community can make a better living than migrating to an already overburdened city; the family and community life benefits, the air is clean, the water is clean… etc. etc.   Visit the Tansa Valley Facebook page to celebrate the beauty of the valley.

Join the debate: Can organic agriculture really feed the world?  This month’s ‘Nature Nose’ by Sean Sluys, examines this and opens up the debate.  Leave your comments to this emotionally charged issue!

Cow Power: A new baby bull has come to the farm!  With many blessings as he was born on the Hindu festival day of Dessara. Cow power gives the latest cow news.  Also read how Dessara invaded the Seed workshop.

'Dessara' phot by Alban
‘Dessara’ photo by Alban

Events update: We are running more on-farm events to inspire and connect to the city people.  We welcome Heena Chokshi, professional ayurvedic chef, who provides healthy, tasty nutritional cooking at our Pluck, Cook and Eat events.

Book now for an event in January, beginning with a Pluck, Cook & Eat event on January 6th.


Health: Ayurveda lines up with our Vedic farming approach, seeking to create balance in the individual for optimal health.

plate 2
Ayurvedic lunch from farm grown produce. For optimal health.

Produce: Our three year old Guava trees are producing large delicious guavas.  Did you know they are a super fruit?  Containing lots if vitamin a, & c and dietary fibre, and used for numerous health complaints.

barn - view from the north


Special Thanks to:

Rob, Steve, Scott, Manisha, Sue, Lavina, Ruth, Peggy, Amelie, Deborah, Fran, Belinda, Bronwyn, Michelle, Aparna, Phiroza, Neesha.