Over the years a committed team has formed in solitude and we have an inspiring group of individuals with various skills developing the farm in these three areas; food, education, permaculture within the context of community.
Our core team consists of a mix of Aurovillian and local villagers who have been a part of our family for many years. Local people through fair employment practices have been a part of the farm’s work for many years and have helped enormously in its evolution.
Krishna, a farmer, musician, educator and actor is at the heart of Solitude. Insipred by Masonobu Fukoaka, his vision and passion guides the activities on the farm. For the last 23 years, Krishna has lived in Auroville, integrating permaculture, music, community and local food as a vision for social change.
Krishna McKenzie came to Auroville in January 1993 after studying at the J. Krishnamurti school in UK where he studied acting, music, biology, French and jazz guitar while taking care of the vegetable garden.
He has been deeply inspired by Masanobu Fukuoka, a Japanese Zen Master, farmer. After an apprenticeship year at Annapurna farm he pioneered Aranya, a 50 acre farming and reforestation project in Auroville. In 1996 he started Solitude Farm creating a dynamic community around local food, permaculture and natural farming.
Krishna’s work can be termed ‘social agriculture’, an exploration of the relationship of local food to ecology, economy, culture and society.
He continues to live on the farm with his wife, Deepa, two children and other extended family.
In 2006, Krishna founded the band Emergence which has gone on to perform at Glastonbury festival UK, Maximum India Festival Washington D.C and many venues including Blue Frog, Mumbai all over India. He started an annual eco music festival, Lively Up Your Earth (LUYE) at Solitude. Over the years, the farm has developed into a popular music venue promoting local food and music as a means of celebration of community and ecology.
Krishna is also an actor having been involved in theatre from a very young age. He has worked on many plays such as Moliere, Shakespeare, Brecht, Pinter, Neil Simon etc. He has also dabbled in Cinema.
Krishna is keenly interested in education, viewing it as a key aspect of his lifelong work. He has long shared his and the farm’s wisdom through various social permaculture initiatives like, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), permaculture and cooking workshops, and a host of community and public space garden projects.
People Food Music, 2015, is a part of Krishna’s vision – a grassroots movement bringing permaculture to rural India through Community, Food and Music. This is the introduction video of the Crowd funding we did about People Food Music https://youtu.be/RKP6X_l5Kmc
In February 2016, Krishna gave a TEDx talk about his work and will be involved with further talks promoting the organic integration of permaculture and music. Krishna can be contacted for workshops that integrate talk, experiential learning and music.
A quiet presence on the farm, Sathya, a local Tamil villager has worked as the farm manager for many years, working on the field and helping plan the farm’s sowing, planting, watering and harvesting work across the year. An artist, he has exhibited his work in the café and in many other places and continues to explore his passion.
Heading the fusion cuisine is our head chef Sarah Kundig, born in Switzerland, raised in Spain and Brazil and studied Fine Arts. She has cooked in restaurants in Thailand, Switzerland, France and Spain. An artist at heart with deep love for what comes from earth.
Deepa Mckenzie, co-founder of Solitude Organic Farm Café has brought a strong Tamil influence to our cuisine, working closely with our local chefs Jaya and Sathya delving into the treasure trove of traditional recipes, with their seasonal variations and their medicinal and health benefits
Local chef Jaya has been a part of the café since the beginning, heading the Tamil influenced cooking of our food. A beautiful soul bringing the warmth and love into what we serve.
We host a dynamic, moving population of short and long term volunteers, WWOOFers and interns who have contributed immensely to farm, cafe and other activities over the years.
We are grateful to be surrounded by a community of friends who regularly support the farm in a variety of ways, from frequenting the café, volunteering, raising much needed funds, and by spreading awareness of our activities through their networks.