So it is winter in Philly and all of the farm is covered in snow. What a better time then the take a trip to India!
Nic and I arrived in India two weeks ago and it has been an amazing adventure so far. We stayed with a family that owns a coffee plantation. They were a great couple and treated us like family. It was so interesting to see how they run their plantation. In addition to growing coffee they also grow cardammon, pepper, bananas and rice. they also just have papaya trees everywhere and a wonderful kitchen garden. One of the great things about this trip is to see how many staple foods are grown that are not native to PA. They are all organic and have many sustainable systems set up that go back a hundred years. They have a huge rainwater catchment basin where they filter the water and use it for watering the plants around their house and for washing. They also have a composting system where they capture the natural gas to run some of their appliances. It is interesting that in the USA all of these systems are thought of as green innovations but they are just traditions here in India. The government of the state of Kerela is also very supportive of these types of projects. As we walked through a tribal village we noticed that all of the huts have solar panals that the government had distributed. They thought we were a little strange to be so exicted about how they reuse their cow dung.
In a few weeks we will be heading up north to study and volunteer at the Navdanya Institute started by Dr. Vandana Shiva. If you have not read any of her books I highly recommend them. They are jammed packed with facts, original ideas and solutions for a more sustainable, more just world. We just finished reading Soil Not Oil. We are excited to stay there and learn more about their seed saving program and experiments in biodiverse farming.
While it is exciting to be in India for the next Month and half there are many exciting things happening in Philly this winter.
ESUF is partnering with the Little Berlin Gallery, Viking Mills and NKCDC to create a Berry Patch/ Sculpture Garden on a huge lot between york and boston street in East Kensington. For the farm this is a great opprotunity to be able to grow more produce, especially berries that require a lot of space in order for the yield to be substantial. The neighborhood is encouraged to come and pick their own berries. We will also be selling them at our pay what you can farmstands.
Little Berlin will also be working with artists to design the site and will be using it for programming. The will also be helping out a lot with the maintenence of the beds! Thanks you!
Viking Mills has agreed to lease the land for 3- 5 years! and NKCDC has been a great support.
We will be sending out emails about upcoming workdays in the spring! So we hope to see many of you out there!
Also Kristen Neville from the Little Berlin Gallery will be presenting on the project at the Ignite Philly on January 28th. Tickets are only 5$ so come check it out! Way to go Kristen!!!