Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Agro-ecology and Permaculture Convergence - Dec 9 (Friday) to Dec 14 (full moon), 2016 at Vanvadi, Maharashtra

Experienced practitioners attending the Convergence, include: Narsanna, Clea Chandmal, Preeti Patil, Vasant Futane, Naresh Save, Debal Deb, Ananya Mehta, Rosie Harding, Peter Fernandes; also perhaps, Raju Titus.

Dear All,
We warmly invite you to a collaborative ‘Agro-ecology and Permaculture Convergence’ from Dec 9 to 14, 2016 at the Vanvadi forest in the Sahyadri foothills, about 100 km from Mumbai, going towards Pune. 

Objective: The Convergence is for mutual sharing, learning, and documentation of relevant knowledge, experiences and ideas among participants; and for deepening inter-support relationships for such purpose. While the focus will primarily be on western peninsular India, participation is open to all who are actively interested and involved in ecological regeneration/conservation and growing food. Vanvadi is happy to host this collaborative gathering; and to provide basic simple arrangements and a congenial ambience. It however needs equal support from other participants to achieve our shared objectives.

Schedule of Sessions
The weekend of Dec 10-11 will focus on home food gardening. The other days will cover wider issues related to agro-ecology and permaculture, including, soil, water, biodiversity …

Friday, Dec 9, 2016
11 am to 12.45 pm: Introduction to Vanvadi, and to the Convergence aims & plan; followed by brief self-introductions by participants, about 2-3 minutes per person, including what each would like to learn/benefit from the Convergence.
2.30 pm to 4 pm: Session by Narsanna on ‘Applied Permaculture’ 
4.15 pm to 5.45 pm: Interactive Discussion with Narsanna and 2 or 3 others (add names) on permaculture & agro-ecology

Saturday, Dec 10:
9.30 am to 11 am: Joint open discussion with Ananya, Rosie, Narsanna, and Bharat on ‘Collaborative Documentation and Sharing of Knowledge and Practices in Agro-ecology and Permaculture.’
11.10 to 11.30 am: Narsanna on ‘International Permaculture Convergence’ at Hyderabad in Nov. 2017; and Bharat on the ‘Organic World Congress’, jointly organized by IFOAM and OFAI, at Noida, Delhi, a week or so earlier. 
11.30 to 1 pm: Parallel Workshop Sessions: (i) ‘Urban/Terrace Home Food Gardening Basics’ with Preeti and Ananya; (ii) ‘Rural/Peri-urban Homestead Nutrition Gardening’ with Rosie-Peter
2.30 to 4 pm: Continued Parallel Sessions: (i) ‘Urban/Terrace Home Food Gardening’ with Preeti and Ananya; (ii) ‘Rural/Peri-urban Homestead Nutrition Gardening’ with Rosie-Peter.
4.15 to 5.45 pm: Joint Interactive Discussion on Home Food Gardening, with Preeti, Ananya, and Rosie-Peter
Sunday, December 11:
7 - 8.30 am: ‘Vanvadi Forest Foods and Useful Species’ – a walk with Mahadu Bua and Ambibai
9.30 am to 11 am: Parallel Workshop Sessions: (i) ‘Urban/Terrace Home Food Gardening’ with Preeti and Ananya;  (ii) ‘Rural/Peri-urban Homestead Nutrition Gardening and Integrated Agro-forestry’ with Clea and Rosie-Peter. 
11.15 to 12.45 pm: Continued Parallel Sessions: (i) ‘Urban/Terrace Home Food Gardening’ with Preeti and Ananya;  (ii) ‘Rural/Peri-urban Homestead Nutrition Gardening and Integrated Agro-forestry ’ with Clea, and Rosie-Peter
2.30 to 4 pm:  Presentation/talk by Clea on ‘Permaculture Principles in designing a Home Food Garden/Backdoor Food Forest’ (covering both urban/terrace and rural/peri-urban situations)
4.15 to 5.45 pm: Joint Interactive session and Open Discussion on Home Food Gardening, with Clea, Preeti, Ananya, and Rosie-Peter 

Monday, December 12:
9.30 am to 11 am: Talk/Presentation by Clea on: ‘Agro-ecology and Soil Regeneration’
11.15 to 12.45 pm: Talk/Presentation by Clea on: ‘Agro-ecology and Tree-based Farming’
2.30 to 4 pm:  Talk by Naresh Save (translated by Bharat) on ‘Bhaskar Save’s way of Natural Farming’; alternatively, session with Raju Titus on ‘Seedballs in Fukuoka’s way of No-Till Natural Farming’ 
4.15 to 5.45 pm: Open Discussion with Leslie, Vasantbhai and Bharat on ‘Integral Lifestyle Permaculture and Social Permaculture’

Tuesday, December 13:
9.30 - 11 am: Workshop by Vasantbhai on 'Soil and Water Conservation, including Contour-line Management’ 
11.15 - 12.45 pm: Session with Debal on ‘Selection and Conservation of Crop Varieties in a Farmer-oriented Participatory Breeding Programme’
2.30 -4 pm:  Talk/Presentation by Nareshbhai Save on: ‘Bhaskar Save’s approach to Orchard Development, integrating Short Lifespan, Medium Lifespan and Long Lifespan Species’; 
4.15 to 5.45 pm: Open Discussion with Debal, and Clea on 'The Meanings of Sustainability in an Agro-ecological Context'  

Wednesday, December 14
9.30 am to 11 am: Talk / presentation by Debal on ‘Agro-ecology and Conservation’ 
11.15 to 12.45 pm: Session with Vasantbhai on ‘Farmer level Networking, and Seed Festivals for Crop Diversity Conservation and Sharing, including Relevant Knowledge’  
2.30 - 4 pm:  Collective Evaluation and Discussion session on the Convergence; and Future Collaboration Plans 

Contribution: A voluntary contribution of Rs 1500 per day (inclusive of food and stay) is requested from each participant. Some concessional (50%) ‘scholarships’ are available for deserving participants who need them, and are willing to volunteer 2 hours each day for support functions like: helping with food preparation, serving, cleaning, filling water, etc.

Documentation of sessions: This is proposed for subsequent wider sharing among participants and others interested. However, we also need volunteers to make this possible. This will entail taking notes, photographs and audio/video recordings for subsequent transcription and editing. About 2-3 dedicated volunteers would be required, who may avail a concessional (50%) scholarship, if needed.

To Register, please fill this online registration form: SsmYa3D3  (Bank Account details & directions to Vanvadi are provided on the registration form)

Vanvadi: is a 21 year old, 65 acre, collectively owned and regenerated bio-diverse forest, with about 2 acres under cultivated food crops (half rain-fed, half irrigated), and a few seasonal streams and water bodies. (The rock pool is very deep; only for swimmers.) We aspire to evolve as an ecological forest village community. Collective self-organisation with mutual sensitivity, help, and shared learning have been the guiding principles of our past activities and workshops, Our new community house can provide shared (dorm-style) accommodation for about 30 people; an older house can accommodate about 8. Beyond the first 35 registrations, the rest would need to sleep outdoors, or bring their own tent; please register soon! Simple vegetarian food is offered. There is no electricity, no piped water, and net connectivity is poor. But the natural ambience is delightful… lush forest, the calls of birds and insects, and a zillion glowing stars at night … (See Vanvadi Facebook page for conversations and photographs posted in recent years.)

What to bring: Warm clothes and sleeping bag, or a sheet and warm blanket are essential. (The days are pleasant, but the winter nights are cold!) Please also carry a torch, whatever you need to take notes, or to swim or bathe in, and any music instrument you play. (Post dinner, we generally have an hour or more of singing, music around a warm fire.) You could also carry any literature, books, posters, … you would like others to see; and perhaps any seeds/planting material that you would like to share/exchange. (Any plastic packaging, etc. you bring should please be carried back.)

Further information: may be sought by emailing, with a copy to, and

We look forward to see you ... !

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