The Ecological Futures Course at Shunya Farm in Bir, Himachal Pradesh
About Shunya farm -
Shunya farm is a community supported farm in a small village called Bir in Himachal Pradesh, India. With an area of about 3/4th of an acre, the farm produces food for a few local people and restaurants. The farm is as much a source of food as it is a home to innumerable soil microbes, insects, birds, mongoose and more beings than we can see or identify, and place for visitors and seekers to reflect on the our connections with soil and food. The practices on the farm are influenced by Fukuoka’s natural way of farming and Permaculture design towards creating a sustainable organic food farm and a regenerative community.
The farm is run by aerobotics engineer Anshul and architect Angelica. They met while doing a permaculture course in Auroville, fell in love, and joined forces to grow green and old together.
About the course -
Ecology - The study of the relationships between plants, animals, people, and their environment, and of the balances between these relationships.
In our age of paradoxes, we have, to speak of, unlimited digital connectivity but an unimaginable disconnection from each other and ourselves, our advanced medicine has made us sicker and dependent on chemicals for daily survival, the increasing number of educational institutions have only led to more ignorance, information burdening us with misinformation, technology causing depletion of our own mental and biological faculties and all our attempts in development continually pushing more and more people to the margins of poverty. The challenges of inequity plague all human cultures and we witness deterioration of our natural systems, climate change, and degradation of social and spiritual life. Believing that someone, somewhere, at some point in time, , will find the answer to our ailing world with even more advanced technology, is burying our heads in the ground and perpetuating the same culture that has led us to this predicament.
Zooming out and looking at the big picture reveals that all these problems are interconnected and interdependent and that it is technically impossible to solve one problem without solving the others at the same time. Therefore the solutions to any of these challenges at any scale will need to be holistic in their view of the individual, the community, and the natural systems, depending less on the advancement in our infrastructure and technology, and more on advancement in our personal, social and ecological relationships.
Ancient traditions and cultures always considered life as a unified principle and acknowledged the presence of the macrocosm within the microcosm. Our scientific mindset limited by our perception has led us far from the truth and the immense potentialities of our existence. The field of quantum mechanics has revolutionised this understanding and it is only in the last few decades, that science has accepted these limitations. Our current development paradigms only create material profit at the cost of environmental and individual health. And a new future where it is possible to create communities that are sustainable and holistic would require a new paradigm altogether. We will require the birth of a new consciousness that can manifest in a harmonious physical world. This is the inevitable evolution of the human mind.
Ecological futures brings forth an exploration into the possibilities of and beyond sustainability and of the future of humanity and this plant. The clues for imagining these scenarios are revealed through patterns in natural systems that are inherently sustainable and that inform us of the next stage of human evolution.
The course will offer tools to synthesize our scientific and spiritual understanding of life and in that imagine ways of transiting from anthropocentric to eco-centric paradigms. To create a cohesive understanding of this, we will review philosophies and experiences from both the eastern and the western part of the world. During the course, we will journey through the history of our mankind and the history of life to put our future in perspective.
This course is for people who feel the need to articulate their ideas on sustainability before they begin working towards it. Overall, the objective of the course is to send back the participants with a lot to think about and the confidence and skills to start observing deeply and design their own gardens or farms.
Course outline -
Fire as Design — Systems thinking — Permaculture Design — Understanding sustainability — Origin and evolution — Flows and patterns — Observing deeply — An integrated view of nature — Soil food web — Life of plants — The story of food — Jal Jungle Jameen Janwar — The network of Fungi – Natural farming — Reading landscapes — Mapping — Propagating plants — Seed saving — Animals in agriculture – Composting — Culture and communities — Invisible structures — Sense of sacred
Farm work -
All participants will spend some hours working at the farm every day. During this time the participants will learn some basic skills on using tools, starting a fire, plant identification and classification, reading landscapes, water harvesting, starting seeds, harvesting, and a natural way of working in a garden or a small-scale farm. All work on the farm is done with hands and no heavy machinery is involved.
Course fees - Rs. 15,000
Note: The course fee does not include food and accommodation expenses. Stay with village families and at local guesthouses is available. Food is offered at the homestays or the dhaabas in the village market. Participants are welcome to take the fresh seasonal produce from the farm.
Dates - May 18 - 30
Number of participants - 6-9
Reflections of earlier participants - shunya.earth/courses-reflections
How to apply - Please fill a contact form here and then go to http://shunya.earth/courses-register/ to register