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Farm Newsletter: February 2001

Rainfall for the year 2001, January through December, fell below average with only a total of 1048.6 mm (the average being 1220mm), mostly coming in the month of October. Lack of heavy rain in November made possible early progress in cultivating vegetable seedlings and the winter crops (salads, greens, herbs) have been exceptional. Tomatoes are already setting fruit and showing no signs of wilt or fungus. Annadana project managed a beautiful crop of off-season tomatoes, harvested in the months of November & December! Rosella season is almost over, while papayas in many locations are reclaiming their place in the overall ongoing demand. Pongal, the Tamil harvest festival, was celebrated January 15 & 16 and evidence of the season's rice harvest abounds.

The Farms Office has begun to receive a regular flow of inquiries from WWOOFers (Willing Workers on Organic Farms) who have seen our description in their 'independent organizations' listings. WWOOF originated in the UK but now has contact points in the USA & Australia, too, coordinating work exchange offers for almost every country in the world. More infromation at www.wwoof.org  and www.soilassociation.org  -
Many thanks to WWOOFer David Klotz , who stayed and worked at Siddhartha Farm & Buddha Garden, and to Margaret Shaddy, still staying with us now working with Bernard & Deepika in AuroBrindavan.

The January issue of Auroville Today chose for its theme 'Farming in Auroville', and ran articles on the current economic status of the farms, comments from a major funder, as well as profiles on setting up a vegetable garden (from Priya of Buddha Garden) and the seed-saving project at the Botanical Gardens site. Some of these pieces can be seen on the webpages as they are updated, and copies of Auroville Today can be had by writing to avtoday@auroville.org.in  - As always, we are grateful to the editorial team at AV Today for helping to share information on our work with Aurovilians and the many people in many countries who like to read about activities & issues here.

Annadana project hosted in November & December the visit of agro-ecologist Maurice Chaudière of France, who shared his knowledge & skills in the arts of bee-keeping and fruit tree grafting techniques. Maurice is also a sculptor working with clay and bee-wax, and demonstrated an easy design for making bee hives. He is the author of two books in French 'La Ruche Solaire' (The Solar Bee-Hive) and 'La Forêt Fruitière' (the Fruiting Forest). His main focus in Third World countries is to help people to create prosperity and beautiful things from their very own local resources. Annadana is organising a 3-day conference on preserving biodiversity through seedsaving & networking in India, to take place in Auroville March 8-10, 2002. The conference will be fully sponsored with limited enrollment. February 15th is the last date to reserve a place. (annadana@auroville.org.in ).

Study programs and volunteer opportunities are taking shape, thanks to the collaborative efforts of Minh & SAWCHU (Sri Aurobindo World Centre for Human Unity), and with the help of previous student group coordinators from around Auroville. If you are interested in work/study possibilities contact them via study@auroville.org.in  . Students are recommended to come in our "off season", May - November, when discounts are often available for accommodation.

For more information on AV Farms contact: farmgroup@auroville.org.in 

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