The best sustainable living organisations, courses and workshops

Switching over to a sustainable way of life can do wonders but it is not something that should feel out of reach. Meet the people who will help you take the leap by keeping it simple

Let’s face it—with climate change threatening our very survival on the planet, we can no longer stay oblivious to the impact of our daily choices. Though reversing the damage is a large-scale effort, small measures targeted towards sustainable living and a more sustainable lifestyle can make a significant difference to our personal well-being and our environment.

Want to know how to begin? Meet the people who will help you make the leap to a more eco-friendly lifestyle by keeping it simple.

SUSTAINABLE LIVING AT THE SOLITUDE FARM, AUROVILLE, PUDUCHERRY
Auroville has long been known for its eco-friendly lifestyle practices as put in place by a community who delved into all aspects of sustainable living years before eco-activism started to trend. If you are keen to make room for healthier, ecologically sensitive choices, then the Solitude Farming Workshops are a particularly good place to start.

Run by a community of farmers, Solitude Farm was founded in 1996 by a group of young locals. One such local, Krishna McKenzie, was inspired by Masanobu Fukuoka, the Japanese eco-warrior who championed natural farming and permaculture. You can learn about how bioresources – i.e., leaves, weeds and branches—when returned to the soil, increase the soil fertility and eliminate the need for chemical fertilisers and pesticides. In addition, the community’s 130 different plants are used as ingredients in the dishes served in their café, the Solitude Farm Cafe.

· Write to: krishnamckenzie@auroville.org.in
· Call: (984)3319260

ECO-FRIENDLY LIFESTYLE INTERNSHIPS AT PERMACULTURE PATASHALA, HYDERABAD
This preeminent Indian permaculture initiative as helmed by Narsanna Koppula, is the pioneer of permaculture in the country. The Permaculture Patshala three-month internship programme draws sustainable living enthusiasts from across the world.
The programme is all about hands-on learning, with the ‘school’ being a 1,000-square-metre food forest in suburban Hyderabad, which is part of the environmental organisation, ARANYA Agricultural Alternatives. Students are taught the science of growing food without major human intervention—from mulching leaves and growing produce on drylands, to building biodiversity, facilitating microbial growth, composting, sowing seeds and learning about the interconnectedness of insects, plants and weeds.

· Write to: permanent.agriculture@gmail.com
· Call: Narsanna Koppula on 09440826722
· Visit: permacultureindia.org

QUESTION OUR PLANET'S UNSUSTAINABLE LIFESTYLES AT AIKYAM, BENGALURU
Aikyam, founded by Sandeep Anirudhan, has nearly 3,000 members and a calendar brimming with sustainable living activities, including:

·    Visits to food forests
·    Documentary screenings
·    Protest campaigns to save mangroves
·    Vegetable- and terrace-gardening workshops
·    Ways to devise zero-waste travel itineraries
·    Newspaper weaving
·    Organic-cooking workshops
·    Making fermented food
·    Plus a dozen more skills that can truly nourish the body and soul

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Aikyam, founded by Sandeep Anirudhan, has nearly 3,000 members and a calendar brimming with earth-loving activities including setting up your own home garden. Image Courtesy, IKEA

 

Anirudhan confesses he is here to question norms and break the mould: "Let's start with that wee bit of toothpaste that you squeeze onto your toothbrush every morning and all the chemicals in it. Now let’s think of the seven billion people who are doing the exact same thing every morning and sending it down the drain; all of it is heading into our oceans. And that’s just toothpaste."
Scary? Anirudhan and his tribe will teach you not just to question but also to find and ‘make’ the right solutions.

· Write to: Sandeep.anirudhan@gmail.com
· Call: (080) 33508383

GREEN ARCHITECTURE AT GEELIMITTI FARMS, NAINITAL
According to founder Shagun Singh, GeeliMitti (wet earth) is “a call to go back to our roots and an affirmation towards earth care and repair.” Though the farm focuses on permaculture, one of their key focal points is green architecture. Recently, Singh conducted a 45-day workshop where participants from all over the world learned how to build earthquake-resistant homes using mud, cow dung, lime and plastic trash. These building techniques are centred on natural ventilation, low costs, alternate sewage treatment, natural water capturing and reusing.

· Write to: geelimittiindia@gmail.com
· Call: 09540937144

APPROACHES TO SUSTAINABLE LIVING AT MANDALA ORGANICS, MUMBAI
“Am I buying more than I need? Am I aware where my money is being spent? Permaculture is about all this too, not just composting, sowing seeds, making your own enzymes or growing your own food,” says Avanee Choksi. The founder of Mandala Organics is out to teach us how to take small steps to engender a more sustainable lifestyle, one weekend workshop at a time.

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Avanee Choksi’s 90-minute permaculture workshops focus on addressing climate change, ethics of permaculture, ethical money, waste management, home composting, bio enzymes and sowing seeds. Image Courtesy, amenic181/ shutterstock.com

Her 90-minute permaculture workshops help participants implement sustainable living approaches without having to invest a lot of time. The workshops focus on:

· Addressing climate change
· The ethics of permaculture
· Ethical money
· Waste management
· Home composting
· Bio enzymes
· Swing seeds

 

The organisation is also working on a curriculum on urban permaculture that they hope could become a full-time course or possibly an elective in colleges.
Register via WhatsApp: 9820952632

 

PURVI VYAS REVEALS THE SECRETS TO A SUSTAINABLE LIFESTYLE AT AHMEDABAD
“It’s wonderful to be a foodie, but how often do we really try to understand the story behind what we eat?” asks Purvi Vyas. This Ahmedabad-based eco-warrior practises what she preaches—five years ago, she quit her job as an environmental consultant and decided to become a full-time farmer. Though Vyas conducts lectures and workshops on sustainable living at various venues in Ahmedabad, her farm at Matar village near the city is where you will be drawn closer to the Gandhian principles of simple, sustainable living.

Vyas’s 5-acre farm employs age-old Indian farming practices for chemical-free fruits, vegetables, cereals, herbs and animal fodder. While university students routinely visit her farm on excursions, Vyas also shares her knowledge with anyone who wants to follow the same path.

· Write to: poorvivyas@gmail.com

 

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Purvi Vyas’s five-acre farm employs age-old Indian farming practices for chemical-free fruits, vegetables, cereal, herbs and animal fodder. Image courtesy, Pixelbliss/ shutterstock.com

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