History of the Farm and Krishna
Solitude Farm was started in 1996 by a group of young Aurovillians. One of them, Krishna McKenzie, inspired by Masanobu Fukuoka developed the farm with the ideas of Natural farming and permaculture.
Much like the rest of Auroville, the land needed tending and care. Fukuoka advocated that all the bio-resources around us, such as leaves, weeds, branches, etc., should constantly be returned to the soil to increase soil fertility.
We recognized that this technique was the basis of all our work. Further, no pesticides or fertilizers have ever been used on the land. The farm slowly evolved into 100% non-tillage and the use of machines and tractors has equally been eliminated.
About 7 years ago, in 2011, with a need for financial sustainability and a refusal to compromise on Fukuoka’s vision of natural farming, it became clear that we had to begin serving these local foods.
Starting the café has facilitated our on-going exploration of this vast treasure trove of nutrition that has really become the cornerstone of what Solitude Farm stands for – honouring the gifts of Mother Nature.
Along with this exploration came the need for education; hosting schools, workshops and the now well-known weekly farm tour.
Krishna, also the front-man of the band Emergence, always struggled with the idea that farming was his work and music something else. Over time it dawned on him that music was an adhesive that brought people together. Along with arts and culture, he understood that celebration formed the core of a community’s identity. This identity also being inextricably linked to a community’s intimate knowledge of the foods growing around them; a cultural/nutritional identity.
Thus, Lively Up Your Earth (LUYE) an eco-music festival came about. There have been 5 LUYE festivals celebrating the creativity in our community through music, arts and local food.
The importance and relevance of this subject today has led to Krishna becoming a motivational speaker. Krishna travels with his project, People Food Music, bringing together food, education and celebration to schools, cooperations and various groups.
A road back to nature through three simple steps –
1. Honour all organic matter, our bio-resources and return it to the land. This is our profit, not financial, but nutritional. All wellbeing starts with a healthy soil.
2. Honour all the gifts that Mother Nature offers to us. Honouring them means eating them.
3. Building community through celebration and education on the diverse values of local food. “The Ultimate goal of farming is not the growing of crops, but the cultivation and perfection of human beings” –
Solitude Farm Offers
Over the last 23 years, the vision of Masanobu Fukuoka has led us to explore in-depth the vast diversity of local foods around us. There are over 130 plants, including wild greens, flowers, fruit, vegetables, oilseeds, cereals and grains, grams and pulses on 6 acres of land. Many of these plants are not even found in shops, they are not a product of industrialized agriculture and thus the challenge we face at Solitude is how to re-value these plants within our community for their nutritional/medicinal/ cultural/social/economic and ecological value. Re-valuing starts with the consumer eating local food and exploring how to bring these benefits into all levels of society.
• A farm-to-plate restaurant, open from Monday to Saturday. Breakfast is served between 9:00 am to 11 am and lunch from 12:30 am to 3:30 am. An array of cooling juices, vegan smoothies and ice-cream, farm-to-plate meals and café-made desserts are available. The Thali of the Day is our main meal consisting of a wide diversity of fresh seasonal produce.
• Local Food Basket Service - A commitment to your health – a weekly basket filled with a collage of seasonal fruits and vegetables, along with a unique juice kit to ensure a complete nutritional package.
• Free Farm tour - Every Friday from 11:30 am to 12:30 pm. We explore Solitude farm and the three steps on our road back to Nature.
• Mini – permaculture workshop - A closer look at Solitude farm through exploration of local food. This workshop will give you a clear insight on how to re-connect with Mother Nature through the principles of natural farming and permaculture. Held every Wednesday, from 9:30 am to 12:30 pm, includes lunch and refreshments.
• An intensive, hands-on, weekend workshop that will empower you to grow your own food. Learn how to make your own garden with the principles of permaculture and discover many of the solutions we face in the world today lie in our relationship with Mother Nature. This is a step-by-step approach to bringing nutritional, local food to your plate every day.
Contact information and website links
Location – Solitude Farm is located close to the Visitors Centre. Starting from the Visitor’s Centre Entrance (the side with the motorbike parking), travel along the Auroville main road and take your first left onto a dirt road. When you reach the fork in the road, stay on your left and you will arrive at Solitude Farm.
For any inquiries or information, contact
Krishna at (984) 331 – 9260 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
Link to website - http://aurovillepermaculture.in/
Link to Eateries - https://www.auroville.org/contents/4567
Link to Workshops - https://www.auroville.org/contents/4568
Krishna leads a four-member acoustic indo-pop band called Emergence that has performed in international music festivals, in America and the U.K., T.V. shows and concerts around India.
Link to Emergence – www.Emergencetheband.in