It seems like no better a way to approach life than through this – connecting people, food and music.
At Solitude farm, Permaculture is a reason for us to connect with people from various communities and help them understand that growing the food one eats is the most sustainable. People Food Music as an initiative stemmed out of this thought. This led us to looking around, not to very far, but at the villages around Auroville, in Tamil Nadu. We realized that sadly, even at this basic community structure, where food is grown, people are disconnected. They seem to have forgotten the methods of growing food organically and are influenced by the commercialization web of growing industrial crops.
How about if we could reach out the villages around us and help them reconnect with their methods, their food, and their music? Through the People Food Music Project, we intend to do this. Work with groups of people, various communities, reintroduce them to farming through Permaculture, farm with them, learn their traditional methods of cooking, introduce them to the methods we know, cook with them, eat with them and celebrate through music and art.
As we began interacting with groups of people from the villages around, we also thought we’d reach out to the larger community of people who can support us with this. That was by way of a fund raising campaign on Indiegogo. We were aspiring to raise $12K and we raised $9684 through a campaign that ended on January 1, 2016. We’d like to thank all of you who contributed to this campaign by supporting us with your money, by spreading the word or even making references.
We are now geared to taking the People Food Music Project to the villages around in Tamil Nadu and perhaps start making an impact to change amongst the communities there. The first will be the Third Circle Garden at Chinna Muddler Chavadi, a quaint tiny village near Auroville. More updates on that will follow, until then – Grow your own food, Cook local recipes and Celebrate life through the Kuthu Song…
Look at this rice field. This field hasn’t been ploughed for 6-7 years. The field next to this one, for 3-4 years. And still the rice has germinated and grown beautifully.
Solitude is a farming community aiming to integrate food and education within the context of a functioning natural farm. Solitude Farm is a part of Auroville, in Tamil Nadu, south India.
Over the years Solitude has become an example of natural farming in India, demonstrating the ideas of Masanobu Fukuoka, autor of The One Straw Revolution. We use non-tillage methods, mulching, intercropping and green manures, and other techniques associated with Permaculture. Food processing, cooking, natural building, discussion, silence, art, and music are components that make up our community life and work.
The soil in our rice fields is full of millions of micro organisms, mould, fungi, bacteria, earth worms, insects, small animals and a host of other forms of life. Ploughing these fields would exposes the soil to severe heat and light, thus compromising the fertility of this highly delicate soil eco- system. When we plough, fertility is reduced and the addition of prepared composts become necessary. We have found that by using green manures, returning all the organic matter back to the soil (including the rice straw), and not ploughing, we are using less and less compost. In some cases we are not using it at all. This year we grew peanuts in July, sowed rice directly into the peanuts, harvested the peanuts and after a small weeding we returned all the peanut waste to the field. We added no compost. It is not easy to get a homogonous germination like this, so invariably there was a little transplanting here and there. Then we did a weeding and now we are harvesting. Some years we use a very dense ground cover called black velvet bean as a ground cover prior to sowing the rice. It is so dense that there is no need for a pre- weeding and just a very brief weeding is needed while the rice is growing.
One variety of rice we are growing is called china pooni. Rice farmers talk about good yields of 30 to 35 bags (75kg) of this rice per acre. We have a quarter acre this year and it is looking very promising. And it tastes very good, maybe due to a more diverse nutrition. We had a funny mistake occur when we found that two varieties of rice got mixed up in the field. One was ready to harvest before the other. In permaculture, stacking crops based on their duration is a standard practice, but I never thought about it applying to rice. I am wondering if this stacking has helped with what looks like an impressive harvest? I have heard that tribals do this with up to twelve different crops in one field.
Anyway, farmers don’t like to talk about yields until the crop is in, so I will just say that if you would like to help with the harvest and be a part of this beautiful experiment that we have been working on in Solitude for the last 8 years please come at 8am on the 2nd of March and try and bring a sickle!
This naturally farmed rice will be offered in our CSA along with the other grains (i.e. ragi and varagu), peanuts, sesame, and black gram. Those who come for the harvest are invited to join us for lunch, and with the vegetable production in full swing, that is a reason enough to come! See you there! yours, krishna