Ok, so the big idea here at Sadhana Forest is to take what most would consider uninhabitable land and find a way to make it habitable. The first step is usually increasing the water table, which includes building dams, and then collecting and treating the water. The idea is also that this is not a temporary solution to the land; rather the idea is to create a system that can sustain itself forever. Permaculture means that when doing this kind of work you are mimicking nature. And in nature one crop does not grow in isolation on a huge field. That, as we know, is actually terrible for the land. In my opinion, it is irresponsible use of the land.
Ten years ago when this reforestation project began, the land, much like most of India, was barren due to English colonialism and poor crop planning. In the ten years that Sadhana has existed much of what they’ve done is add water back to the land so that nature could do its thing. The trees are about my height. I live in a majestical forest where most creatures have re-found their homes- lizards, birds, snails, bugs, bats, bugs, toads, bugs, butterflies, bugs, frogs, and chipmunks. They are everywhere and it is beautiful. I’ve also never encountered so many species of ants before. Biting ones, too. The huts we live in are open and so the creatures abound. It is truly lovely to live with them, and a little strange to think how sterile my NYC apartment is.