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Message from Krishna

Dear Friends,

Summer is coming. 

It has been fun with all the winter crops, the abundance and diversity which is thanks to a cool climate and enough water. But the heat is on. We cannot irrigate so much, there is not enough water. certain crops don’t perform in this heat and so we have to again focus on which crops are really local and which crops use less water and manage in the heat. 

Turkey Berry, Chicken spinach, Manathakkali spinach and Drumsticks as well as Drumstick spinach (Moringa), Green Papaya, Tapioca, Yams, Green Mango, Ash Gourd, Cucumber melons, Ridge gourds, Brinjals, Cluster beans, Banana stem and Banana flowers, Thoothuvalai, Mudakathan, Bael fruit, Chikoos, Soursop and a bit later mangos. There is no shortage of produce in the summer! However, these foods are often overlooked in our diet. Our diet is defined by a more industrialised agriculture. It is a bit like music, it is easy to find hip hop on the radio, which I like! but much harder to find traditional folk music. What sells easily, what packs easily, what uses lots of chemicals and water, what is easy to store and transport sells the most! And as food is functional,  so local food lies waiting like a beautiful lover who has been forgotten by her man. I want to address the question of water in a Citizens Assembly. The question of water usage is a question mostly defined in agriculture by the consumer. If we are ignorant about which foods grow around us, then obviously we are contributing to depletion of  this most valuable resource. Local foods lie close to Mother Nature and are easy to grow! Foods that come from far away have a far greater impact on our environment and most often are less beneficial for us nutritionally! What I really want to share .. Oh there are so many words!! and words create such confusion and dualities!! But what I really want to say is local food is a gift of Mother Nature and lies at the foundation of our existence. If we address this, we directly address the root of the problem and we don’t need to look at water in isolation. The problem of over use of water will be addressed directly and on an essential level. it is not an adjustment. This is a really serious subject. It tires me when people think it is merely an opinion or a different point of view. Until, as Fukuoka says, we come back to the arms of Mother Nature we will not address the problems we face in our world today.

  

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

And welcome back to Ramphal! the amazingly sweet brother fruit of the custard apple  (Sita Phal). This fruit is already hanging everywhere in the farm and people are going to go crazy with it's delicious taste. We make a custard with it, by mashing it in a little water and passing it through a sieve. it sits nicely on top of a smoothie. Summer is coming fast this year so the traditional plants will soon dominate the basket again, which may mean for some, a renewed effort in learning traditional recipes. Takes some time but it is well worth it! Banana flower, banana stem, turkey berry etc 

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
Saving Seeds and Sesame Harvest 


As much as growing and sharing the values of local food, seeds are of utmost importance. This year we have gone one step further in deepening our efforts in saving seeds and preserving varieties.
The corn we received from our friend Pravin Soni is now in it's 3rd generation. It is so fast that we can grow three generations in one year!! Red and white seeds, we also use to have a blue baby popcorn. would love to get it back if anyone has some!

This is black velvet beans with which we make the dopamine coffee. it is very beneficial for parkinsons and alzheimers disease. We get a good income from these seeds but it also has huge value as a green manure and there are a few fields that I feel would do well to go under intense ground cover for a season. The roots are very thick and open up the subsoil and the foliage is amazingly dense. we would plant it with a short duration millet like foxtail millet in July and then after the millet is harvested it would take over the field. Then we would harvest seeds in February and then plant into the lush decaying organic matter. I feel that selling these seeds for a few thousand rupees belittles their worth and so I think they will all be planted next year. This is the plan at least!


My father in law is so quiet and steady. Those are the qualities you need to preserve seeds. Everyday he dries the seeds he has been given or what he has collected and opened. Here are wing bean seeds, sponge gourd and pigeon pea.



The elegance of the sesame in the pod is amazing. The harvest has been quite small but we have something.


Solitude Farm Cafe

Thuthuvalai - (Solanum Trilobatum) rasam! Today we had a college group from Chennai and we made Thuthuvalai rasam for them. They all knew about it but most had not had it for a long time. The plant is growing wild in a number of places on the farm and the flower is a delightful purple shade.



Mornings at the Cafe!

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

Music from Solitude

Korey - Here I Am | EMERGENCE 
You can listen to all Emergence tracks here

Permaculture: How-to Grow a Climate-Resilient Food Forest With Edible Wild Plants


This is by far the best documentary made about my work at Solitude so far. 
Many thanks to the Down to Earth team that took time to come and film over three days and eat the food and not only understand the work we are doing but feel and appreciate it.
Please share this video and invite friends to sign up to our newsletter!

 


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 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 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 solitudepermaculture@gmail.com 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. 
Skill: 
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 solitudepermaculture@gmail.com

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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solitudepermaculture@gmail.com

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Krishna McKenzie · Solitude Farm · Auroville 605101 · India

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