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…
The sweet potato has enormous nutritional value, being low in sodium, saturated fat and cholesterol, a good source of dietary fiber, vitamin B6 and potassium, and a very good source of vitamins A, C, and manganese. It is available from Auroville farms in the period from January to March which means there is minimal transport in getting the food from the field to your plate. This year in Solitude, starting in August, we grew four different fields of sweet potato. Two fields, which funny enough were the last two we planted, were fantastic in size and taste, while the other two had lots of smaller tubers but they were equally good in taste. We have been giving these small sweet potatoes in the CSA baskets and have heard how tasty they were from the participants. We have also been serving them daily to our guests and volunteers at Solitude organic restaurant. Sadhana Forest and Center Guest House also take regularly and again the verdict is that small is tasty! So far we have harvested around 300 kilos of big and small sweet potatoe and we have close to 100 kilos left to harvest.
We have a small problem however, the smaller sweet potatoes are very difficult to move in New Pour Tous, as the conception is that sweet potatoes are only good if they are big. This Saturday I gave the weekly tour of Solitude, and during a discussion on nutrition one guest asked me “why do the local villagers prefer white rice when brown is better for you?”
In the book The One Straw Revolution, Masanobu Fukuoka discusses weather it is permissible that man use chemicals in the fields. He describes the miracles of nature and thus fertility that are destroyed by chemical application. He suggests that philosophers and artists join the discussion to see weather man has the right to use chemicals.
The sweet potato is a small matter, just a farmer wanting people to understand that it tastes good and that we need to be educated about what is good for us – food that is grown locally, without transport, without chemicals. I brought Nagamuthu, a local farmer who works with us at Solitude, to help me with the delivery the other day and he was very angry that good food should be rejected because of size! But the consumer directs the market. We have all the crazy stuff on our shelves because we demand it. The irony is that humans choose foods that require chemicals and transportation with fossil fuels, but they are unhealthy for both us and the environment. Consider also the ever-diminishing gene pools due to use of hybrid seeds (needed to grow the perfect round, red tomato). All this is due to a lack of understanding about our food. We search for solutions for our broken ecology yet the answers are right in front of us. Please eat small sweet potatoes!