People Food Music
From the age 15 to 19 I was in a very unique learning environment. It was there that I was introduced to Masanobu Fukuoka, A Zen Master who referred to himself as a simple farmer.
Everything I have done over the last 23 years has been inspired by him.
Fukuoka perceived that Nature is perfect and there is nothing man can do to improve upon nature. He spent his life demonstrating this insight through Natural Farming. He developed techniques that were non- intrusive. That mirrored nature’s processes.
Today I took a group on a tour of Solitude Farm and showed them:
Soil ecology: Microorganisms, bacteria, earth worms, fungi and how the interaction of this ecology is the fertility of the soil.
Mulching: That every leaf, weed, branch is a bio resource, everything is returned to the soil.
Crop diversity: We grow over eighty different crops that reflect nature’s abundance.
Elegant Rotations: Four edible rotations in a year, non-tilled rice, followed by vegetables, lentils and then millet.
Wild plants: Nature, when left alone, offers a vast array of edible weeds and flowers with unique medicinal values that are the fabric of our culture.
Then I sat them down at the Farm Café. Enjoying their meal, prepared with produce from the fields they had just walked through, they experience the goodness of the soil. The taste of wellbeing.
What Fukuoka told me all those years ago is alive in this farm. Everyday Nature reveals to me her deepest riches. This is what I have to share.
Healthy soil is Mother Nature.
One day my family and I went on a bike trip to my wife’s town. We travelled on the back roads. I was deeply shocked by the dismal state of farming in rural Tamil Nadu.
I decided then and there lessons learnt at Solitude could be directly translated to these villages. By practicing permaculture they could easily use a fraction of the water and grow a diversity of crops to feed their community and make money at the same time.
For example, our fruit and vegetable basket service would be the perfect model to share with farmers. A pre-paid weekly basket of fruit and vegetables for participants in the local community.
The next step was a collaboration with the Sustainable Livelihoods Institute,
who focus on bringing sustainability to villagers in Tamil Nadu.
Workshops introducing women’s groups to permaculture began.
After two days of harvesting, creating circle gardens, cooking, eating, making music and dancing, a number of things became clear. The women said we have to start these gardens in our homes and cook these foods for our families.
Reawakening the value of traditional foods, these women are empowering themselves to find local solutions to complex problems like diabetes and high blood pressure.
On a larger scale industrialised agriculture is responsible for ecological, nutritional and cultural deterioration. We see the impact all around us. Reconnecting with our local food is obviously the solution.
People Food Music is our response to the women’s request for help.
We choose a public space, a school, where the women invite the village to create gardens and turn classrooms into kitchens, cooking traditional foods together. A permaculture festival! A celebration leading up to an evening of eating, singing and dancing. There is joy in doing something meaningful together.
At Solitude, our expression of music is as rich as our soil. The songs and musicians of Emergence are an integral part of Solitude’s power to create this celebration. Our music communicates beyond language.
We have songs to record, that beautifully echo the spirit of everything done in Solitude and they will be ambassadors for this project. Used in videos and Electronic Press kits, these songs will popularise the project and open doors everywhere they go.
We are starting a movement.
We need your financial help to make the first step.
Funds for materials, transport, accommodation, fees, music and promotion will make this a an amazing success.
It’s easy for us to teach on the farm, but People Food Music means taking everything we know, do and love into communities far and wide. This requires transporting the; team, tools, materials and instruments to the villages. The event needs ingrediates (picture more than two hundred people celebrating and eating together). The team needs accommodation. The program needs planning and coordination. Promotion, above and beyond the graphics and videos you see here, will also involve Emergence recording the new songs, the ambassadors mentioned above. (you might not be able to witness us in action but you can enjoy the music that People Food Music inspires, and you have supported)
There is a directness and simplicity to everything we do, and this means using your contribution effectively.
What we are proposing is not a one- off, it’s a seed we know will bear fruit.
People Food Music is a grass roots movement and Solitude Farm is committed for the long run.
By practicing Fukuoka’s Natural Farming, I am witnessing the essential change society needs.
Please give generously and lets bring permaculture to villages in Tamil Nadu together.