Monday, November 14, 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, Vasantbhai Futane, Debal Deb, Ananya Mehta, Rosie Harding, and Peter Fernandes. Ardhendu Chatterjee is also expected to join; and perhaps, Naresh Save and 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.

Proposed Daily Plan (9.30 am to 5.30 pm): The Convergence offers each day 2-3 pre-announced workshop sessions of 90 minutes, conducted by seasoned practitioners in areas of their special expertise/experience; and at least one ‘Open Sharing and Discussion’ session of 90 minutes. There will be a 90 minute lunch break at 1 pm, and two 15 minute tea breaks each day, between sessions.  (On the first day, Dec 9, we will begin at 11 am; and on the last day, end at 4 pm.)
Additionally, there would be two 15 minute sessions (post-breakfast and post-dinner) for sharing practical/organizational matters related to daily plans and arrangements. The remaining time will be free for informal interaction; and also for any participant to offer an additional voluntary workshop session/discussion after 5.30 pm (on Dec 11, 12 or 13).

Broad Focus Themes:
Friday, Dec 9: Introductory Sessions on Agro-ecology and Permaculture
Sat Dec 10 to Sunday, Dec 11: Small-scale home gardening (rural and urban)
Dec 12 to 14: Wider issues related to Agro-ecology and Permaculture (eg soil, water, energy, biodiversity, etc.)
More details of the Convergence Agenda and the workshop/discussion sessions (Resource person, subject, date and time) will be announced within a week.

Contribution: A voluntary contribution in the range of Rs 1500 to 1800 per day (inclusive of food and stay) is requested from each participant attending for a minimum of 3 days. For those attending just a day or two, the requested contribution is in the range of Rs 1800 to Rs 2,000 per day. 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 by Nov 18: 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 bringWarm 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

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