Meet Harshita from Auroville, India

“I am a permaculturist and textile and fashion designer. I and my friend Kai Lindenblatt (Permaculture Designer), together describe ourselves as Makers and Problem Solvers. We together run an organization called Makers of Permaculture. Makers of Permaculture aims to continue growing as a social / environmental business with incorporating more members working together to share knowledge and shape the future and significance of applied permaculture design in the world as the key-tool to live in peace and security. We are physically present in India and Germany and work online and traveling to different parts of the world.

While working on a reforestation project in Samburu County in Kenya I realized the importance of growing food. People do not have food and water, the bare necessities for life to continue growing, and it did hit me really hard. Producing one’s own food and catching the rainwater can solve problems of hunger, malnutrition and failing ecosystems together. Now working as Makers of Permaculture, I try to pass on whatever I have learned in my own journey to help others in my full capacity.

The magic of creation and and seeing any kind of life being born is such a breathtaking experience. To see the formation from flower to ultimate food form is so magical, and that sheer magic just keeps me going. The taste and love I feel eating the food I grow is just out of this world.

I am currently living in Auroville, in India. The garden I have here is only 4m x 9m in area. I love forests, and I have tried to bio-mimic the same in my small garden patch. This garden is only two and half months old and it currently growing mung beans, long beans, cow peas, wing beans, rosella, moringa, cassavas, sweet potatoes, chaia spinach, malabar spinach, bitter gourd, bottle gourds, sunflowers, cosmos, tomatoes, egg plants, corns, pumpkins, butternut squashes, chilly, rockets, some indigenous herbs, chicken spinach, okra, papaya, rose moss, jicoma, onions, ramphal, lemon grass, passion fruit and many more…

I constantly work towards improving the soil. I follow an easy and simple mantra well described by Masanobu Fukuoka “Give everything back to the soil”. I add all kinds of nutrients back to the soil by constantly mulching the soil with as many different varieties of dead organic matter. For me here it varies from algae to water hyacinth to cow manure to bamboo leaves and what not. What other people throw away, I collect and mulch our gardens… I believe in holistic design and management of my life and the gardens I work on. I do conscious companion planting to avoid pests.

Since the garden is a bio-mimicry of a food forest, there is rarely any problem with pests. Usually there is enough for us and them so we all live in this happy balanced ecosystem. If there is a pest problem, I soak 4 tsps of neem powder overnight in 10 litres of water and water the plants with it once a week. I have never come across any big hurdle. There are some or the other challenges every day, but they push me to be more efficient and creative so I get my kick from the hurdles.

I strictly do not purchase anything for my garden, most of the seeds came either as gifts from friends who are organic farmers or through seed exchange. I also collect seeds when I am traveling, and I consciously save the seeds. One can easily find me on the side of a street or at a farm with a small bag taking every opportunity to collect and save the seeds.

Seeing the plants grow everyday is the biggest reward. When I have food in abundance for myself and I can share it with others, it truly makes me really happy,

We want to change the world by teaching and inspiring others to be able to approach social / environmental change by applying permaculture design. This means to design resilient livelihoods, resilient landscapes, resilient economies. A model which we will replicate throughout the world. We work with social groups, NGOs, organizations, businesses and private people to introduce, promote and teach permaculture and holistic sustainable living. We want to support others with their projects and their needs to create positive change.

Nature is abundant, one can take what is needed and rest can be left untouched and wild. To become one with ourselves and to grow in peace and harmony, we need to reconnect with our roots, mother earth… Once you connect, you are not above or below the nature, you are the nature… Let’s merge ourselves and go back to the womb of the earth we all came from, let’s become humans again… Let us all become one.”