Thursday, October 14, 2010

Feedback "FROM SOIL TO SEED", a workshop recently conducted by Annadana Soil and Seed Savers

"From Soil to Seed" a three day sustainable agriculture workshop recently conducted by Annadana Soil and Seed Savers, had participants from all walks. It was interesting to witness the diverse range of professionals from doctor, scientist, engineers, IT experts, NGO's, journalist, marginal farmers and home maker come together to understand the source of their food and take charge of it. Enthusiastic participants came from Earth Trust, Ooty, to partake in it. Also, participants from the previous workshop attended to gain know-how in seed saving techniques, a skill being revived as its fast being lost.

The most significant highlight was Nature bestowing pleasant weather on all three days. Thus permitting the new age green guardians to be armed with knowledge. A few days prior to workshop continuous heavy downpours made the fields, pathways between raised beds most slippery and wet. It was uncertain whether the workshop would happen after all. Perhaps the charged energies of these eager participants was heard vividly by the universe. Soon after, to open the bottled floodgates of rain once the show had concluded. This rain was a welcome treat to cool the thirsty soil and overcharged minds....

Batch of Oct 2010 were all geared to observe, absorb, soil hands in making their own compost, making vegetable raised beds, nurseries, sowing, transplanting and saving seeds. The interactive course conducted by Annadana's senior agriculture technical expert Sasi Kumar was very well received. The ground work to establish all systems in place in field as in course material for learning was steered by the dedicated efforts of John Paul, an agriculture expert in charge of Ishana Farms, assisted by Pavithra Prasan, a young biotechnologist. Every now and again after a session, I would have a participant complement the outstanding organising capabilities of practical training material made available on field. Having been through many training workshops in agriculture myself, theory always over powered practicals. Hence, a conscious decision was taken to overcome this. The workshop programme was designed in such a way - half hour theory on each topic, re-instated by half hour film followed by a interactive hands on field practice until the technique was mastered.

To make such a workshop happen, one can only compliment the backbreaking efforts put in by this lovely spirited team. For the last three months both John Paul and Pavithra armed by an array of committed farmers have been prepared the field to facilitate the practicals for the participants. Which is why language has never been a barrier as these interactive practical sessions unravels each step. Images above is just a peek at the action.

The pouring compliments after the workshop especially the hands on approach in field were truly gratifying. Twenty five more trained to safeguard bio-diversity....hope this pace moves faster! The constructive feedback received from participants and well wishers of biodiversity is pasted below.

In solidarity

Sangita Sharma

Feedback from participants re workshop

Date: 11 October 2010 5:57:11 PM GMT+05:30

Hello Sangita and Sasi

As is expected from you, the course conducted over the weekend was excellent. Thanks again for your initiative.

You may want to conduct one more quick 2 day course in November just to catch those who could not attend. I know for sure that about 4 to 5 students could not attend this course last weekend. There may be more also.

Also, I again offer Panchagavya and EM to whoever wants the same. When you get all the email IDs documented, please do let them know that I can provide the same.

Once again thanks for the wonderful course. This time, I hope that I will not take ANY more seeds from your bank, instead, I have already made plans to save my own seeds from the packs you have given and maybe even return some back to you for your bank. Let’s hope I can live up to this promise, I have Ravi Koushik and Rajesh Thakkar copied to this message as witnesses to this statement.

I am also going to do the seed saving course for the 2 batches of basic course students of our NGO, sometime in November. I hope Sangita will grace the workshop this time without fail.

Also, I have sent 6 packets of Annadana seeds for the OFAI conference, Sarvadman Patel wanted to plant them and showcase them at the event. Ravi Koushik is going to Sarvadman’s farm and work there in November and can report to us on the progress.

Thanks and With Best Regards



Sent: Wednesday, October 13, 2010 8:17 AM

Dear Sangeetha/Sasi/John/Pavitra & Annadana Team,
1. The Soil to Seed workshop was very well structured, and absolutely well organized (thanks to endless coordination by Pavitra !)
2. This workshop was also hands-on, and very practical, instead of the general "theoritical" workshop programs
3. All the people assosciated with Annadana had that exceptional "glow" really showing their life in harmony with nature,people and everything
4. I also liked the passion people had with plants, trees and all organisms, instead of the western way of analysing plant behaviour from a botanical standpoint.
A few suggestions:
a) Given the fact that there are non-english participants from agricultural communities, it is better to atleast have a vernacular summary at the end of each session. We can get volunteers for this among the participants.
b) A brief allocated time for group interaction for exchanging experiences could be done at the end of morning and afternoon sessions
c)The third day on seed saving might be better with a bit of practicals
To all the participants:
It was wonderful meeting one and all of you, and without your dedicated and committed participation, all the sessions would not have been such fun. I am sure we shall be in constant touch, and keep sharing our experiences and enriching our knowledge..
Please convey my best regards to all the people on the ground like lakshmamma, ram charan and others....our deepest gratitude and love to all of them who actually make things work....and make the world better...
Wishing one and all the very best in all personal and professional endeavours,
Best Regards,
Sent : Wednesday, October 13, 2010 9:17 AM

From: "CS, Shobha" ,

Dear Sangita, Sasi and Annadana Team,
I echo Raghu's feedback. The training was concise, made as simple as one can get, enough scientific and practical.
Sasi's knowledge and his commitment to share what he knows is commendable. We felt the passion and hospitality in the entire Annadana team. It was not like going to a training institution and getting trained, it was like connecting with an extended family and learning.
Thanks to entire Annadana team for making it a great learning with joy. It was great to interact with all participants, would like to be in touch with all of you, and hear our experiences.


Dear Sangita,

I was very happy to learn about the workshop. Feedback is highly satisfying and participants liked the 'hands on approach'. Hearty congratulations to the team at 'Annadana'. Keep up the good work.

Om Rupela

former Principal Scientist, ICRISAT

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