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David and I have both returned from globe trotting filled with new knowledge and experiences gleaned from around the world. This time spent abroad has motivated us to rethink our contributions to the agriculture movement, and we are in the process of completely re-envisioning the Amyitis project.

I spent a lot of my time overseas working on a reforestation project in Tamil Nadu, India: Sadhana Forest, part of the larger community of Auroville. I once overheard Sadhana Forest described as, “an amazing group of people, good work ethic, good energy, and good vibes.” Absolutely true. Founded by Yorit and Aviram Rozin in 2003 Sadhana is a model sustainability project striving to recreate indigenous Tropical Dry Evergreen Forest that once grew in the area.  When Sadhana project first began, the land was completely barren, and now there are more than 20,500 Tropical Dry Evergreen Forest plants of 150 different indigenous species, with an average survival rate between 80% – 90%. More than 1,600 volunteers, interns, and students from India and around the world have lived and worked in Sadhana Forest for periods of 2 weeks to 24 months.

Sadhana Forest volunteers, March 2010

One of the foundational elements of Sadhana Forest is that community support is vital to the success of the project. The Rozins and their volunteers are constantly striving to maintain close ties with the local community.  Without the community’s support and commitment to the forest, the trees would simply not survive. This is one of the reasons why the relationships between the volunteers, the community, and the forest  are at the heart of the project. As one volunteer famously said, “may there be more forests to grow people!”  This connection to the community being invaluable to the overall success of the project is the most valuable lesson Sadhana Forrest has taught me. Sadhana India and their brand new sister project, Sadhana Haiti, are always looking for new volunteers. It’s a most invaluable experience, trust me. If you would like more information on the experience of volunteering, feel free to contact me through the comments.

Around the time I returned from Asia, David triumphantly returned from an intensive permaculture course at the Permaculture Research Institute of Australia. Motivated by a life changing experience with permaculture in San Francisco, David  journeyed to the motherland of modern permaculture near The Channon in NSW Australia.

From the Permaculture Research Institute of Australia:

David had such an amazing experience at the Institute that he plans on returning in the fall this time to teach with world-renowned permaculture pioneers Geoff and Nadia Lawton.

He made this video chronicling his experiences:

David continues to imagine new and better ways of bringing permaculture practice and knowledge to San Francisco. One such project he is involved in is Hayes Valley Farm– a community garden and permaculture demonstration site here in San Francisco.

David discusses this project in the podcast, Confessions of a Permaculture Aid Worker, Episode 5: Paul David Stockhausen.

You can listen to it here:

Recently, David was a major contributor at the Greener minds summit 2010, an active, collaborative meeting of the minds of “Bay Area sustainability movers and shakers.”

David @ the GreenerMind Summit 2010

We have many other projects and ideas in the works as we contemplate our next steps. As always, we’d love to hear any suggestions and feedback from our readers in the comments.

It’s great to be home!


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