A big THANK YOU!
for all your support! Your donation has participated in a recent land purchase for Auroville, which will add to its land regeneration and organic farming work.
Our organic farmer Krishna, Solitude Farm, with his natural farming practices and outreach to the bioregion, is one good example of how regenerative land use is developed, practiced and then shared widely.
Now, after Covid, professionals and students from South India are coming to Auroville again, to learn organic farming in workshops and "hands on". They have a multitude of programs in the field of sustainability offered here.
We are proud that you see the scope of our work, in further securing Auroville`s land. Only with a further advance in land consolidation can we continue to practice and demonstrate organic farming practices.
As you can see on the photos, we are amazed to see that our water conservation work - much required for a continued sustainable agriculture - is extremely effective this year: we still have water in the eeries - the traditional irrigation ponds - due to a 270 % increased rainfall (compared to normal year) this monsoon.
Now, end of March, summer is looming, and midday temperatures raise above 40 C under the sky.
But our trees, and their dense canopee, keep us cool for most of the summer days.
THANK YOU, for being part of Auroville`s land consolidation!
Sigrid, project leader
yes, we got again thousands of trees planted this monsoon season in Auroville:everybody involved with stewarding land is planting: the school children, the forest stewards, the farmers, and on newly purchased land the many members of land board team plant trees, and plant life fence trees with indigenous tree species.
For fencing typically plant species with thorns like wild lemons are used. Many a times the already growing "mullu" gets simply transplanted for fencing during the rains.
Why do we still plant trees - after 50 years of Auroville?
On every newly purchased land, the afforestation work proceeds over 10 - 15 years, through a phased approach of planting pioneer trees, then decidous trees, and finally the TDEF - tropical dry evergreen forest species, which are evergreen tree species.
Our land holding is a patchwork - in the greenbelt over 50 % of land is still missing. In the southern greenbelt land is well consolidated, with amazing land regeneration and water conservation, and wildlife and a biodiversity returning big time.
But for the remaining greenbelt, land holding is very scattered. Auroville purchased as and when the land owner wanted to sell, and the ownership documents were correct. Thus we add new plots one by one - and restart the phased land regeneration process.
Auroville focusses efforts to purchase of strategic land holdings
- land which will enhance biodiversity by bridging land holdings,
- land on the water shed so that most effective water conservation work can be effectuated.
- land valuable for organic farming and to serve as demonstration plots for outreach and capacity building in farming techniques.
There is still a lot to do ...
we do it step by step, day by day.
Unlike usual land regeneration project, we are not moving on after completing tree planting projects. We are staying. We see what really works. We work on the social and climate change perspective beside biodiversity. We live with our forests. We grow for decades with our trees.
Be part of our adventure in regenerating land for humanity.
Your support by donating directly, or help us run a campaign in your network, is most appreciated.
Sigrid and Funding Auroville Team
Antonio, Giovanni, Supriya and Sigrid
This summer 2021 in Auroville we are blessed with a gentle cool climate:
Lush green trees, shrubs and long grass, and oceans of flowers with hibiscus, frangipani and hundreds of “Service trees” blooming all over Auroville.
An extraordinary summer – usually we would find ourselves in a simmering heat well above 40° C and grey skies for 3 months - with trees reducing their foliage to bring down evaporation.
Our bioregional microclimate, created by the millions of trees planted, is enhanced this summer by the abundant autumn monsoon rains we received, with water still standing in all the water retention ponds and the village tanks everywhere.
For Auroville’s land regeneration, with over 24000 trees planted this monsoon, this summer is a blessing. Young saplings are having a fabulous first year, establishing their roots deeply for the upcoming growth spurt and building of the evergreen canopy.
Radiant health is seen as a divine blessing here in our rural population: Tamilians stick to their time-proven ways of managing health, based on hundreds of years of traditional knowledge.
Keeping a self-discipline, they stick to simple nutritional local food, oil baths, early morning prayers, and an active lifestyle – even with hard physical work. Local herbal medicines and specific foods, based on varieties of paddy, millets and local vegetables keep the body cool and envigourated with life energy.
Auroville`s work of the past 50 years, preserving and re-activating the cultivation of traditional varieties of rice, millets, and vegetables supports the traditional healthy lifestyle in our rural villages.
Auroville’s food outlets play with this traditional approach, and get creative – adding elements of Korean and Thai cuisine, bringing in vegan recipes, North Indian flavours, and even local edible weeds and flowers.
Meanwhile the health-conscious consumers of a growing middle class re-discover their traditional food culture: health food outlets promoting “rice dumplings of traditional rice varieties”, juice bars with organic sugarcane cocktails, and health food stores with traditional foods as “take away” are developing in Pondicherry and Tamil Nadu.
Auroville`s regeneration of the land and its biodiversity and organic agriculture is sustaining a healthy life style for all … now more then ever.
We appeal to you to support us in consolidating Auroville`s land –
every donation helps to make strategic purchases now to secure Auroville`s future
A special treat:
The Intro to the documentart “Ever Slow Green” with Solitude farmer Krishna McKenzie speaking with film maker Christoph Pohl https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wp7QPcxzXoQ
Trailer and Links https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VO6Mpz7fAAA
8 acres of severely eroded, barren land in the West of Auroville, along the Kootroad, have been successfully regenerated since 1994, without external inputs and no soil or organic matter from outside. Pebble Garden has transformed into a vibrant indigenous forest with returning wildlife, a productive bio-diverse garden and a fledgeling fruit tree area.
A garden area of a quarter-acre is devoted to Seed Conservation. It was created by an intensive process of soil building, using select pioneer species and is today a plant collection of more than 100 endangered traditional vegetable varieties from all over India - root crops, herbs, perennial and wild food crops, medicinal plants and flowers. ‘A Garden for Everyone’ is an outreach initiative to share these hardy plant varieties, which have performed well on this wasteland, with home gardeners and subsistence farmers throughout India. They are shared within known organic farmers’ collectives via organic fairs, seed melas. A place of continuous learning, Pebble Garden also has a charcoal/wood vinegar production plant and conducts research on terra preta.
Deepika and Bernard now produce about 3,000 packets of vegetable seeds a year, many of which are endangered species. They use the minimum of water necessary through micro-sprinklers, once every two weeks to ensure that no water is wasted. Every Saturday they host a tour of their land for all those interested and are constantly working in tandem with rural schools in the surrounding area in order to teach children the benefits of organic farming.
We thank you for your continued support and are so happy to see that our fundraiser can help such an amazing duo of individuals continue to work with nature and spread their love for organic farming to as many people are possible!
Funding Auroville Team
What does it take to re- generate a whole ecosystem - the soil, the flora and the fauna?
Auroville`s pioneers and foresters have been researching the ecology past 50 years. They set up tree nurseries, travelled to pockets of forests and temple groves in Tamil Nadu, collected those tree seeds right there, and are planting, planting planting trees.
Why are we still planting trees, after 50 years?
In the first 20 years, only the most hardy pioneer tree species survived the harsh summers, and the heavy rain falls in the monsoon. Typically Acacia auriculiformis - an acacia originating from Australia - commonly called "work tree" here: Yes, this tree did the work - it grew where nothing else did!
Next 20 years many indigenous decidous trees were planted, and these transformed Auroville to a lush green forest environment, which attracted birds, mongoose, hares, jackals and many insects and spiders. But during the 4 dry , hot summer months one can see through the forests, and the soil is exposed again, as most trees are bare, leaves are fallen.
Past years, the call is out to further regenerate the original tropical evergreen forest:
Now we plant "evergreens" such as "Ceylon box wood" , psydrax dicoccus, or Aglaia e., "droopy leaf". These need a bit of shade to start off, but in the longrun they will create the shade and conserve the precious water all year long. These evergreen tree species have very deep roots, and are much more resistant to cyclones. Restoring the flora will in turn attract the original fauna: now deer, porcupines, jungle cats are returning already.
In view of climate change, specifically for coastal South India, its imperative to create a complete tree canopy, to create a protective dense evergreen forest. Only with this forest, the climate here can be mitigated to be livable in future. Auroville`s foresters create the gene pool for the complete coastal ecosystem.
Thats why we will keep on planting trees...
and that´s why we urgently need to consolidate Auroville`s land holding.
Just next to where we planted hundreds of evergreen trees in the last 10 days, a local landowner eradicates all vegetation to grow meager rainfed crops. 50 years of Auroville`s forest ecology didnt change his approach - yet! We got much to do: planting, training, educating, reaching out ...
Your donations for land purchase are vital to our work!
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