How an Israeli couple turned 70 acres of wasteland in Tamil Nadu into a self-sustaining forest

How an Israeli couple turned 70 acres of wasteland in Tamil Nadu into a self-sustaining forest

Aviram Rosen and his wife Yurit Rosen first came to India in 1998 and immediately fell in love with the province.

“We arrived in Tamil Nadu and never felt like we were in a different country or place, we felt like coming home. We loved everything here and the people. So we decided to move to India two years later,” Avram Rosen who was born in Israel, but now calls India home says.


Sadhana Forest

How was the Sadhana Forest founded?

He was born in a town belonging to Tel Aviv, Aviram Rosen was a successful businessman CEO of a medical device company.

But in the early 2000s, he decided to reinvent his life away from the bustle of business.

Rosen said, “I decided I wanted to move on and do something different in life, something that wasn’t professional or money-oriented, something more of a service. But I didn’t know what that would look like.” indetimes.

Sadhana ForestSadhana Forest

That pursuit took the couple and their daughter to Auroville in Tamil Nadu.

In December 2003, they began a campaign for afforestation and water conservation on a 70-acre plot, which has now grown into the Sadhana Forest, a self-contained patch of green that is now teeming with wildlife.

Sadhana ForestSadhana Forest

Vegetarian food, no smoking and drinking

“We wanted to live life the way we wanted. There was no intention of turning this into anything big or creating an institution. All of these things developed naturally. We started living and planning seedlings here. Within days we got some and then more and more volunteers came in. Within a month we had about twenty volunteers staying with us in temporary housing.”

The ‘rules’ were simple – guests will be served vegetarian foodSmoking and drinking are not permitted.

Rosen said he felt this would make him “unattractive” to most people, especially to young adults. But to his pleasant surprise, the opposite happened.

Sadhana ForestSadhana Forest

Living Atithi Devo Bhava

“Our gate is like a railway station in India, people are in and out all the time. We offer a free tour to anyone who comes here and if they come during meal hours they get a Free vegan breakfastOr lunch or dinner depending on the time of day. People value a lot and I think that symbolizes to many that the guest is the concept of God.”

natural selection

Another interesting thing Rosen said he noticed during this forest farming It is the way in which nature chooses what is best suited to a particular environment.

Sadhana Forest
Sadhana Forest

“We started by conserving water because when you do that you almost don’t need to plant trees. Water makes the soil fertile and other plants grow themselves. It also attracts birds and animals who then defecate the seeds that you will later dispose of that grow into plants and trees, so nature chooses spice it up”.

today is 70 acres of forest It has a large variety of plants and animals including animals like peacocks, wild boars, rabbits, civet cats, jackals, foxes, etc.

Sadhana Forest
Sadhana Forest

Wildlife conservation and volunteers together

Having such a high density of wildlife in a site frequented by visitors can be difficult and uncomfortable for both sides.

But Rosen says the Sadhana Forest has managed to strike a balance between the two to coexist without disturbing one another.

“We maintain a balance by separating where we live and where the animals are. The forest is largely undisturbed and we hardly ever go there. If we have to get into the forest, we follow a specific path where people can see the forest and the wildlife and not roam in the wilderness. It interferes with animals.

Sadhana Forest
Sadhana Forest

Sadhana Forest to Haiti and Kenya

After tasting success in India, Rosen took the Sadhana Forest concept to Haiti and Kenya.

“In 2010 immediately after the earthquake in Haiti, we started Sadana forest there. And in 2014, we also started Sadhana forest in Samburu province. We don’t feel pressure on millions of trees, but every tree we plant, we take good care of it as it adds value to the people.”

Sadhana Forest
Sadhana Forest

merciful life a job

Rosen says his forest and his lifestyle depend on his eating of vegetarianism, an approach based on compassionate work.

“The message we want to send is to turn empathy into action. If we can wear empathy glasses when we make decisions about life, food, building our home, or even interacting with people, we should think about whether it is mercy, or can we do better, That’s what we try to instill, not in words, but in action — when you eat, when you eat compassionate food, when you build something, do it with compassion, when you hire someone who treats them with compassion,” he said.

Sadhana Forest
sadhana forest

Forest Botanical Festival

Pre-COVID-19 Sadhana Forest had more than 1,000 volunteers from all over the world in one year.

As the world slowly emerges from the clutches of COVID-19, Sadhana Forest is also spreading its message about living nectar through the Botanical Forest Festival, a three-day event in February 2023, which Rosen said will be free to all attendees.

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