Friday, October 2, 2015

EVENT : VanUtsav Forest Festival (17to22 Oct 2015)

Six days of learning, sharing and music at Vanvadi

Dear All,
The Vanvadi Vanutsav this year is from Saturday, Oct 17 to Thursday, Oct 22 (Dussera), ie 6 days.

Held every October, the vanutsav is a confluence of young and old – to celebrate nature, community and creativity. Self-organised, with shared responsibility, it has an ‘open agenda’ format, where participants themselves offer to conduct any activities, workshops or discussions. These are announced on common wall charts, indicating date and time. People join what they like.

This year, we are trying to get some advance confirmations of workshops/activities, so that we can announce these to interested people. We propose to schedule the workshops and interactions on various aspects of land care and self-reliance over the 3 week days, Monday 19th to Wednesday, 21st Oct. The more popular, multi-generational activities and workshops will be offered over the Saturday- Sunday weekend (Oct 17-18), and on the last day (Dussera), Oct 22, when greater attendance of diverse age groups, visiting for a day or two, is expected.

From October 19 to 21, we plan to have sessions on subjects like how to get started on land; soil, forest and biodiversity regeneration; rainwater harvesting; natural/organic farming; permaculture; SRI; composting; bio-char; live hedges; seed saving; renewable energy; and ecological construction with local materials. Some of these will be conducted by experienced friends, including Vasantbhai Futane, Bernard (Auroville), Clea (Goa), Jacob Nellithanam, Ravi Venkat, Arjun ‘Dobigha’, and Sanjay Patil. A few more are yet to confirm. Other sessions may follow a format of open discussion. Do let us know if you would like to conduct a session.

We hope to collaboratively document summaries of these sessions – to serve as a continuing open learning resource.
O n Oct 17-18 (weekend), and on Oct 22
(Dussera), we expect to have a wider variety of workshops/activities (about 2-3 hours each) like: forest food walks, millet recipes and songs, small-space kitchen- gardening, traditional folk games, natural healing, swimming, jewellery making and other hand crafts, clay/cob sculpting, bird watching, star-gazing, story-telling, nature collages, etc. We welcome you to conduct any session you like, and preferably let us know in advance, so that we can inform others too.

There would also be community cooking, and a few hours of singing, music and dance every evening on all 6 days. (So do bring along your music instruments and song books!) The big music feasts to look forward to will be on: Saturday, October 17, 7 pm to 12 midnight; Oct 18, 7 am to 10 am; Oct 21, 7 pm to 12 midnight; and Oct 22 (Dussera), 7 am to 10 am.

Vanvadi is a collective organic forest farm (more forest than farm) in the foothills of the Sahyadris, between Mumbai and Pune, about 100 km from Mumbai, and 10 km from Neral station. It aspires to evolve into an ecological forest village community. Presently, it offers only rustic accommodation (roof and mud floor!) in a lovely natural environment, without grid electricity or piped water. Staying at Vanvadi is like a nature camping experience! We have shared sleeping arrangement for about 30 people in two dwellings. Sleeping under the open moonlit/starlit sky would also be quite pleasant in mid October. Those who have tents (or can borrow/hire one) are strongly encouraged to bring them along, and preferably inform us in advance. But please do bring along a sleeping bag or at least 2 sheets and a mat, as the nights may begin to get a little cold. (In case you need better organized private accommodation, please indicate, and we may be able to inform you of a few possibilities not far from Vanvadi.)

Voluntary Contributions:
In order to meet costs and support the work at Vanvadi, we request a voluntary contribution as suggested below. However, less or more – whatever you are comfortable with – would be equally appreciated. (Please do not let money be a deterrent!)
Cash contributions are deposited anonymously in a common collection bag slung on a pole/tree.
Suggested contributions: For 2 or more days – Rs 500 per day per adult, and Rs 250 per day per child;
For one day (24 hours) – Rs 600 per adult, and Rs 300 per child.
Any additional contribution would be a most welcome support in sustaining and nurturing Vanvadi as a natural community space!
Contributions in kind – for the vanutsav – are also welcome (eg organic/wholesome/local food); but please coordinate with us.

Basic Responsibilities:
In view of the potential hazards of a forest environment, all participants need to take full responsibility to look after themselves, and especially any children accompanying them. (Each child should be accompanied by an adult.)
The rock pool is over 18 feet deep, and for swimmers only; but a few shallower, waist-deep water-bodies are also available for non-swimmers and learners.

Keeping the Vanvadi space free of plastics and city litter is a strict rule. Any non- biodegradables you bring should be carried back. We also discourage chemical soaps, detergents, toothpaste, etc. and encourage any natural equivalents. (Do bring if you can!) Respect for the place, local people, fellow participants; and sharing vanutsav work, is generally expected.

We can accommodate limited numbers. Advance registration will help secure your place, and keep you updated. Please email us soon at:, preferably by September 30, informing us the names and ages of confirmed participants, and the dates on which they would attend. We also request a brief introductory para, mentioning any workshops/activities you may like to conduct. An update informing directions to Vanvadi, contact phone numbers, and the workshops/session being offered, will be sent out by October 3, 2015 to those who have registered.

We look forward to see you!

For registration and details:
Mayuree Pandit: 9930432804
Zui :
022 23542420
Faiza: +91 9820683281
Sanjiv: +91 9892212133
Bharat: +91 9967371183


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