Buddha Garden Volunteer and Student Program

09 Dec 2014 Uncategorized

Can you help buddha garden community farm raise £6000 for their volunteer and student program?

Buddha Garden Community Farm was started by Priya (originally from the UK) in 2000 on an acre and a half of land in what was then Siddhartha farm.  For two years Buddha Garden was the vegetable garden of Siddhartha farm until in 2002 more land was acquired and it became a farm in its own right.  Ever since it started volunteers have been crucial to the development of the farm as all the daily farm work is carried out by those who live there and volunteers.

As the farm has developed the original two vegetable plots have grown to four vegetable gardens, two orchards, two areas of forest, a cashew area.  This last year we have had two ponds dug to collect water on the land which will keep water on the land and help to recharge the aquifer.  During the last ten years Priya has been joined by three other Aurovilians; Vivek who is academically qualified in agricultural studies and helps people set up organic farms and teaches on our courses, Pierre who makes and sells delicious pesto and processes organic cashews and Shivakala who runs the kitchen and makes breakfast for the volunteers on work days.  Rajan from nearby Kottakkarai helps with the administrative and accountancy work and joins with us in the farm work every weekday morning.  This starts at 6.15am and ends with breakfast together at 9.00am.

Volunteers continue to be crucial to our work in Buddha Garden. They come from all over the world and stay any time for a minimum of two weeks to a year or more. By living and working in Buddha Garden they experience and learn about organic farming and what it means to live lightly on the land.  We are very pleased to hear from some of them that staying in Buddha Garden and Auroville was an important experience in their lives and many have been inspired to start community and farming projects in their home countries.  Our vision is not only to grow food for Auroville, but also to inspire and teach those interested in growing food and living in harmony with each other and the natural world.

Our education program has also grown.  We host students who come from many places around the world. This includes visits from local schools, international schools in India and sometimes abroad as well as from Indian and foreign universities.  We support university students either for internships or who carry out research on various aspects of organic farming in Buddha Garden.  Several times each year we organise organic farming courses where people can come and learn both experientially and theoretically about organic farming.

What We Need

When we started having volunteers stay in Buddha Garden we built several capsules or huts made of wood and thatch.  In 2011 these were damaged by cyclone Thane which was not surprising as they were coming to the end of their useful lives.  We erected some temporary buildings with material laying around in Buddha Garden after the cyclone, but these now need to be replaced.  We are planning to build five new robust cabins together with extra showers and toilets.
As the numbers of both students and volunteers have grown over the years we now find that we need a larger kitchen in which to cook breakfast and where larger numbers can sit and comfortably eat. At present we are using the original small kitchen built in Buddha Garden in 2000 which has a thatched roof.  Not only is it rather small to turn out all the extra breakfasts that we now make, but the thatched roof does not conform to modern hygiene standards.  We plan to build a new modern kitchen and large eating area with  a new teaching room incorporated into the building.
Our fund raising program will start on December 1st and will carry on until March 31st 2015.  During that period all the money we make from our books will go towards this fund.  We have also planned a number of fund raising activities which include a bi weekly organic lunches and trip around Buddha Garden as well as several organic farming courses.  To raise enough money, however,  we also need donations and hope that you will be generous in helping us to create the infrastructure needed to further develop our volunteer and student programs. Any donation of any size and currency will be very gratefully received.

We all thank you very much indeed for your help.
Priya, Vivek, Pierre, Sivakala, Rajan.