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Message from Krishna

Dear Friends,

I have a new year's wish. There have been so many talks, speeches, tours and workshops and now it is time for manifestation! 

"Providing midday meals in Indian schools has a long history, going back to 1923 in Madras. By the mid-1980s, three states had a universal cooked midday meal programme for primary schoolchildren. By 1991, nine more states had followed suit.
One of the best known was the state of Tamil Nadu’s scheme which was started in 1982." 

- Centre For Public Impact 

With industrialised agriculture serving rice that needs huge amount of water for irrigation and that use products such as palm oil and potatoes is not sustainable. That which is not sustainable has a high carbon footprint and is inherently less nutritious. 

India is a treasure-trove of nutritional bio-diversity and yet the values of honoring food from our culture that do not damage the planet, our home, are being lost at an alarming rate. Imagine a generation of children growing up knowing the foods of the changing seasons, the foods of their culture, healthy, creative with a strong sense of cultural identity, a relationship with Mother Earth. Without healthy bodies there can be no healthy society. 
Growing local food is easy for a farmer, it uses less water and when practicing permaculture as at Solitude Farm, there is a huge diversity of products of enormous medicinal and nutritional value. We have a project that connects local farmers growing local foods to local schools with a Mid Day Meal Scheme. This project brings together all aspects of the work we have been doing over many years. People ask me where do you see your work in 5 years? I would love to see this project gain recognition as a solution to children's nutrition and equally addressing climate crisis. 
This project is in its first draft and we have started to work with different people on developing the project so it could be implemented by any government, school, community, NGO etc. This project is possibly one of the most profound and essential actions that can bring about a paradigm shift in our world today. 
Here's the project that we have created, please take time to read it and share with your neworks, we would be very keen to hear about your feedback. 
Mid-day Meal | Local Food Presentation 


  

Yours,   
Krishna

“The ultimate goal of farming is not the growing of crops, but the cultivation and perfection of human beings.”
Masanobu Fukuoka, The One-Straw Revolution

Community Supported Agriculture | Fruit & Vegetable Basket

For a long time I have been trying to launch the basket service especially for Tamilians. To make this happen essentials like coriander, curry leaf and green chilli, which are such daily ingredients in Tamil cuisine are a must. Finally we have some nice coriander grown from our own seeds, saved from last year and we also have a Tamil participant who takes his basket on the bus all the way to Chidambaram. 



Last year we offered these baskets to the ladies who work in the cafe for a very symbolic price. There was banana stem, spinach, papaya, cluster beans, turkey berry, the usual suspects!  it was so inspiring to see the ladies going home with 5 kilos of power packed nutrition that they are familiar with. After a couple of weeks the enthusiasm pittered out. They said their children don't eat this food. These ladies cook this food everyday, they know how to use the produce, where is the problem? I suspect time, lack of support, food that's faster to cook and a habit to eat processed foods, has undermined Nutritional Cultural Heritage. 
When the ladies children are not well, they do not relate diet to health/ Medicines, a quick injection are the go to solution. So much communication work is needed for a change to come about. 
The Mid-Day Meal Scheme project, that we have already shared with you has an incredible potential for social change because it addresses the very foundation of our existence, nutrition. If you still haven't looked at this project, then please have a look. 
Eating local food really is the biggest gift we can offer to our children. 



CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. We are able to value these foods because we are creating a community around the subject of nutrition. The longer participants subscribe for the baskets the cheaper they are and the closer their connection with the farm and their understanding of these local foods the more we can offer. 
Baskets are available for pick up from the farm on Monday and Friday and there is a Pondicherry pickup Wednesday afternoon.
Please email solitudepermaculture@gmail.com for sign up. 

Field Notes
Roselle Harvest 

Since a few years in the summer I collect up all the roselle seeds and randomly broadcast them all over the farm. With the fist rain they start to germinate and very soon the tender leaves make a fresh appearance in our salads, smoothies, chutneys and even rice. 
As the plant gets bigger they offer themselves as a structure for gourds and beans and finally the roselle calyces are ready to harvest.



This part of the job takes a long time. Each calyx has to be cut and removed from the pod, then they must be dried for a week. 
These are then stored and we use them throughout the year as juice. They can also be used in jam. 


Solitude Farm Cafe

Roselle | Post-Harvest 

Roselle leaves have a delightfully sour taste and are used everyday in the cafe in chutney, salad, smoothies, green ice cream and roselle rice. 



Roselle is used for treating hangover, managing blood pressure, lowering cholesterol and protecting liver. As well as the fruit and the leaves, the flowers are used to make sharbat and traditionally the roselle fibers are used as low weight and high strength ropes. We have yet to make the ropes or the sharbat. It is the same with many other plants, we still have so much to learn. 

Solitude Farm Cafe - Open | Mon-Sat | 9AM - 3PM

Music from Solitude

Here is Emergence's club track called Man on the Moon. It is about trying to keep pleasure as a constant in our lives. Of course we can't!
You can listen to all Emergence tracks here

What is happening on the farm ?



Regular Workshops 

Every Saturday 11:30 A.M - Weekly tour and introduction to the Solitude Farm


Every Friday 9:30 AM | Natural Soap Making Workshop 
It is imperative that we stop polluting our water sources with chemical soaps. By making our own soap with natural local resources, we can recycle all our waste water to grow food. The Process is simple, easy and fun. 

Every Wednesday  9:30 AM | Secrets Of Our Salad: An Introduction to Permaculture 
Secrets of our Salads is an exploration of the values of local food which is at the very heart of permaculture.


Every Tuesday 9:30 AM | Cooking With Local Food
The wealth of local foods, their nutritional and ayurvedic values reflects the greatness of this culture. Many of these foods have been eclipsed by the industrialised agriculture and this workshop aims teaching people how to revalue them in traditional and fusion cooking styles.

Please email us at solitudepermaculture@gmail.com to sign up for the workshops. 
Contribution required  for all the workshops, except the weekly farm tour. 




3 Day Intensive Permaculture Workshop 
People have so many concepts about everything even about Permaculture! It means different things for different people. For me permaculture really boils down to the food on the table. This is a photo from the Secrets Of Our Salad, which is one of the module from 3 day Intensive Permaculture Workshop which is happening 10th to 12th January 2020, 7th to 9th Feb 2020 and 21st to 23rd Feb 2020. All this produce was harvested by workshop participants and transformed in the most amazing salad that demonstrates all the important characteristic of local food, include a direct solution to climate change. Learning about local foods in this very practical way starts to integrate permaculture in your daily life. 
Dates for upcoming Permaculture workshop: 10th to 12 Jan 2020, 7th to 9th Feb 2020, 21st to 23rd Feb 2020, 27th to 29th March 2020, 10th to 12 April 2020

Please email us at solitudepermaculture@gmail.com to sign up
 

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Krishna McKenzie · Solitude Farm · Auroville 605101 · India

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