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Message from Krishna

Dear Friends,

A message from the spirit of the Turkey Berry Plant,
I live well now! I have so many siblings, children and  grandchildren. I grow large and am home to various plants that like to grow on me. The Butterfly Pea is gentle with beautiful flowers and others like the ash gourd are slightly overwhelming, almost suffocating, but I am really strong so I can manage! In the summer, when it is so dry and harsh, I do just fine! Especially now that I am allowed to grow in the beautiful rich soil of this farm! There is moisture in this porous soil and thus so much nutrition for me and my incredibly diverse community.
But it wasn't always like that....
I use to try and grow in fields but was always weeded out. I was not wanted. They wanted peanuts and rice but not me. The fields were  dead, having been ploughed and sprayed with deadly chemicals. This was not really a place for me. Instead I would find a place next to a sewer or in a trench by the side of a road offering my tasty berries to little old ladies who still valued my nutritional and medicinal value, who still appreciated my taste! Ladies who never had or would suffer from man made diseases like diabetes. They would soak my berries in buttermilk and dry them in the sun, saving them for the months when I did not produce valuable food.
This is why I live well today. I am loved! People in this farm appreciate and recognize that I need very little water to grow and yet I still put food on their plates. They make medicinal powders from my dried leaves and best of all I grow where I please!  I am part of a diverse community of plants and the fields in which we live are not ploughed. The soil in these fields has become rich with micro-organisms, moulds, bacteria, earthworms, insects,small animals and the mycelium. I live in a community and create community. I am a heart beat of Mother Nature.



“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

Look at this basket! this is sanity! eating fresh local produce. Banana stem and flower, turkey berries, bullock heart, produce that is absolutely delicious but will not be on people's shopping list as they are forgotten foods! Now with this Coronavirus I see people doing  panic shopping and hoarding. It makes me think that we really may have to start to think about local foods in a serious way.

The hypothetical situation is always easy to give, it is well explained in the zeitgeist documentary, stop fuel and shops are empty in a matter of days, this is a very similar scenario.There may be no shops in the event of a disaster like this, so what will people eat?  How can we get the importance of local food to be taken seriously. Well, it starts by eating it ourselves! Now if that is not a good add for the basket service tell me what is! But seriously it is crazy how things have to wait till crisis point. Local food is easy! lets not wait!

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 for sign up. 

Field Notes

A new batch of Ragi has germinated. I know a lot about farming in this bio region but the villagers know more!!!! Lakshmi reminded me that if we plant ragi now we can get it harvested in May, the lunar month of Chitra, and that it is traditional to harvest then. I always recognize the villagers as my first teachers. How could it be otherwise. They have spent their whole lives farming and until recently had to survive with that relationship. So the ragi has germinated and hopefully with a couple of rains here and there and we will soon have a new story to share.

The sesame was attacked a bit by insects. I had a very interesting conversation with a local farmer, Shankar, who is also my Tamil Teacher and is also the principal of Aikiyam school in Auroville, was telling me of an interesting article on how insects attacked plants like sesame depending on when they were planted during the moon cycle. It makes sense that if the plant pulls up more water and is thus more succulent then it may be more attractive to insects. I personally see insects as an integral part of everything we are doing but still this gentle avoidance through ancient knowledge would be very helpful!

Solitude Farm Cafe

So great to have new recipes in the cafe. Here are plantain and sweet potato patties mixed with chicken spinach which helps them bind.  Made by Georgia ( adopted by our kitchen ladies as Roja) We also have tomato chutney back on the menu which is a delight, made primarily with yellow cherry tomatoes that almost grow like weeds. We have been keeping these seeds for many years now and they are a staple at this time of the year.

Sarah Kundig who helped start Solitude Cafe and then went on to run her own beautiful kitchen garden and local, raw, vegan cooking classes made these incredible sushi wraps for us to try. They are made with a thin layer of papaya and thinly sliced tomatoes along with indian oregano. We wrapped our delicious green papaya chutney with a little green chutney in it and wow! I am planning to re-start our vegan sushi nights with live music!!!

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

Music from Solitude

Harder The Heart 
You can listen to all Emergence tracks here

Permaculture: Solitude Farm Tour with Krishna 

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What is happening on the farm ?

Regular Workshops 

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

Every Friday 9:45 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  9:45 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.

Please email us at 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 next on 27th to 29th March 2020, 10th to 12 April 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. 
Please email us at to sign up

Hiring | Project Coordinator Mid-Day Meal Scheme
We are looking for an enthusiastic, pro-active individual who is willing to intern for three months to help facilitate preliminary mapping and analysis. This internship would provide the opportunity to experience starting with the ground work to run the pilot project. 
1. Fluency in English and Tamil
2. Advanced computer skills, data compilation and analysis and creating presentations
3. Grant writing and project report writing. Any experience in facilitating a project, background in social work, development studies will be added advantage.
4. This position is open for candidates in and around Pondicherry.
Interested candidates who meet this criteria can email their CV to

Hiring | Cafe Manager 

Solitude Farm Cafe is looking to hire an experienced Café Manager to oversee the day-to-day operations of our Farm to Plate local food Café. 
We are looking for self-motivated, goal-oriented candidate who demonstrates exemplary management and leadership skills; ensure that the café staff and café volunteers carries out all duties efficiently. 
The Café Manager’s key responsibilities include managing the front desk during the breakfast and lunch serving, processing day to day payments (Cafe, store, workshops etc) and the most important of all ensuring that the café is clean and well-presented at all times. Ultimately, the Café Manager should be able to achieve excellent customer service and should be inline with Solitude Farm Cafe’s philosophy. 
If the candidate meets below requirements please send your your resume along with a brief cover note about yourself. 

Café Manager Requirements:

* Bachelor's degree 
* Fluency in English and Tamil 
* Based in and around Auroville and Tamil Nadu 
* Basic accounting knowledge
* Management experience in the hospitality industry
* Sound knowledge of food health and safety regulations
* Exemplary management skills
* Excellent organisational and time management skills
* Effective communication skills
* Exceptional customer service skills
* Long term commitment is required. (Min. 1 year) 

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Krishna McKenzie · Solitude Farm · Auroville 605101 · India

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