Urban & Terrace Food Gardening: An Introductory Workshop is led by Raghu Rao on March 16th (Saturday) and March 17th (Sunday), 2024 at Vanvadi. 

- Utllizing “wasted” space on the rooftop to grow plants
- Rooftop rainwater harvesting
- Growing vegetables /greens in containers
- Building a healthy growing medium
- Composting organic waste
- Seeds and seed saving
- Plant protection – saving your plants from insects and diseases
- Companion planting

I’ve been growing plants on my roof top for many years with varied amounts of success. Rooftop gardening is a way to utilize the “wasted” space on the terrace to grow food. There is always scope to experiment with crops and to develop your own techniques. Hopefully the pictures that I’ve taken to document my journey in gardening will inspire you to start yours!! — K Raghavendra Rao, raghu_oasisfarm@hotmail.com

I am passionate about creating ecological systems that are self-sustaining. I design them on the core foundations of the three pillars of sustainability - soil, water and biodiversity. The critical idea is to ensure that every drop of precious rain water is provided a chance and channel to infiltrate and percolate into the soil. This goal is achieved through using comprehensive soil and moisture-conservation techniques, like contour-trenching/bunding, gully-plugging and building check dams at appropriate locations in the landscape. Once this is done, the soil-building process begins through the selection and placement of appropriate indigenous, fast-growing, drought-hardy, nitrogen -fixing and multi-purpose species of tree, shrub and herb to enhance the biodiversity of the area. As these plant species grow, habitats are organically created for insects, birds, reptiles and small mammals; and subsequent ecosystem processes start kicking in.
With increased moisture and organic matter in the area, soil biological processes too begin to establish themselves. Ecosystem functions - soil amelioration, pollination, microclimate creation, predator prey interactions- begin correspondingly. As the ecosystem evolves, the 5 Fs - food, fodder, fertilizer, fuel and fibre yields increase, benefitting both humans and animals. A living example of this holistic approach that I have been associated with, exists in the campus of the Krishi Vigyana Kendra at Didgi village, Zaheerabad Mandal in Sanga Reddy District, Telangana State. A barren parcel of "wasted" land has been nurtured and converted to a thriving ecosystem. Other sites where similar ecosystems are evolving are at the campus of Aseema Educational Trust at Igatpuri, near Nasik in Maharashtra, at Rishi Valley School in Madanapalle, Chittoor district, Andhra Pradesh and at village Gaddi Harsaru, Gurugram, Haryana. I have, over time, been associated with and advised a spectrum of individuals and organizations in their endeavours to green their respective journeys in the field of ecology and ecosystem regeneration.

The workshop will start at 10 am on Saturday, and conclude by 4 pm on Sunday. Participants are requested to reach by 9 am on Saturday. It is recommended to arrive on Friday by 5 pm (well-before before sunset, as the Vanvadi common house is hard to find in the dark), since you'll be able to adjust to the space and relax, before the workshop begins on Saturday morning.

Requested Contribution for each workshop: Rs 3,500 includes food & shared accommodation. 
For two or more workshops: Rs 3,000 each. There are two other workshops happening in Feb-March at Vanvadi see our website or Instagram for more information. 

What to bring
Two bed sheets (one to sleep on for a single mattress and one to cover yourself); warm clothes (lows may be around 15°C in February), a torch, change of clothes, and any musical instrument you play. You are also welcome to bring along your own tent if you like; and perhaps a compact power bank to charge your phone. (We have no electricity, only 2 solar-powered bulbs, 4 lanterns and candles.)

Vanvadi is situated in the Sahyadri foothills of the Western Ghats. It is about 95 km from Mumbai, 125 km from Pune,  10 km from Neral, and 27 km from Karjat. There are over 20 trains each day from Mumbai to Neral (and back). From Neral station, Vanvadi is a 30-minute rickshaw ride. There is a rickshaw stand at Neral station, and most rickshaw drivers know Vanvadi and the fixed price (Rs. 250). You will also be added to a WhatsApp group after your register (allow us 24-48 hours), and you discuss travel plans with other participants. View on Google Maps.

Contact for questions:
1) Bharat: 9967371183

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You will be added into a WhatsApp group for easy communication and coordinating logistics with other participants. You are free to leave the group if you wish not to be in the group. 
A brief self-introduction (less than 50 words). Include your region / geography.
How many people will attend (including yourself)?
If no children are coming with you, please select zero in the children row. 
Children (below 12 years)
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When will you arrive? 
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If you want to spend the night at Vanvadi on Monday, please contact Bharat (9967371183) after filling in this form. 
Requested Voluntary Contribution per Workshop: Rs 3,500 for 2 days, inclusive of food and shared accommodation; Rs 2,500 for children below 12. More or less would be equally welcome. Please feel free to let us know in case of financial constraints. For two or more workshops: Rs 3,000 each. There are two other workshops happening in Feb-March at Vanvadi see our website or Instagram for more information. 

You can contribute via bank transfer OR UPI (Google Pay, PayTM, PhonePe). After payment, write below how much you contributed and how. For example: "3500, Google Pay"

Bank Transfer:

Account Name: Bharat Mansata & Rashmi Palkhivala,
Savings Account Number: 99380100005894
Bank of Baroda, Peddar Road Branch, Mumbai 400026,
IFSC: BARB0DBPEDD (The fifth character is zero)

UPI Number: 9967371183
UPI ID: bharatmansata-1@okhdfcbank
Name: Bharat Mansata
Please read the document — Vanvadi Introduction, Guidelines, Declaration — in the Google Drive link below.  *
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