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Back to Basics

We are offering a 11 month residential program
"Back to Basics: Exploring Sustainable Living and Entrepreneurship"
for gap year youth, gap-yearers, un-schoolers, and adults aged 14-50 who aspire to make a change in their surroundings. The course is designed especially keeping in mind self-driven change makers who want to equip themselves with the required skills, networks, knowledge and perspective to be drivers of change in the farm-schooling sector.


Admissions are open for 2019. The course will commence in Aug 2019 and will be until July 2020. The course is limited to 25 participants only on a first-come-first-serve basis.


  • Learn by doing Farming, Food processing and Food based livelihoods!
  • Only Doing, No Exams, No Certificates! Definitely lots of physical work during the course, at least for half a day every day will be spent in physical learning-by-doing routine!
  • Explore, Learn, Specialize!
  • Regain self-awareness through reflective practices!
  • Build your skills, knowledge, networks, become part of a learning community & find your passion & vocation!
  • Become part of the paradigm shift that is happening all around already!

Back to Basics is a 2-year programme exploring our connection to Mother Nature, Food, Medicine, Creative Education, Celebration, Music, and Culture. This is an inner journey to discover the deep purpose of our lives.   The first 11 months of the programme will be on-site. The 2nd part will your effort to create a small business based on your learning! Essentially that will be your venture. There will be mentoring available for the candidates in their own location. During the first 11 months, the candidates will learn by being part of any of the unique ventures that are part of Puvidham or its partner organizations, participating in their daily activities, cooking, cleaning, learning, farming, harvesting, celebrating and inspiring each other.

Each participant will co-create an individualized syllabus based on their experience and interest.

Their curriculum during the year will include one complete season on-farm learning, learning by being part of a farm-based school, visiting several other interesting education – learning – farming – forest-based ventures in South India and also an internship with partner organizations. The programme will be conducted in the farm and school at Vanagam farm in Kadavur near Tiruchirapalli, the Puvidham School campus, Dharmapuri, Auroville, Melkotte and at other interesting and inspiring ventures across South India.

Introduction to the Programme (1 week) - Auroville 
A 1-week introduction to the objectives and scope of the programme. The overall programme design and how the programme will pan out. Candidates will get to know more of each other and the faculty of the programme during this time.
Farming & Food Production Systems (6 weeks) st August  to October 26th 
Work in a Sustainable Farm for 3 months and learn Sustainable Farming practices with some of the best organic farmers in Southern India. Learn about food and culture of food, conservation of local varieties of seeds on-site, traditional food and recipes, communities and their food culture, production practices and farming techniques and much more. Learning will also include food production systems that are part of the farm and farm practices. Food systems will include allied areas of farming, input preparation, primary processing, livestock management, processing of food and value addition,etc.,

Location: 1 week at Auroville, 10 weeks at Vaanagam, 5 weeks at Puvidham school campus:

Allied Rural Livelihoods Learning & Community Work (8 weeks) October 27th  to December 21st

Learn ecologically sustainable skill-sets in other livelihood areas apart from community-based management and governance structures and systems. Learn about different ways of eco-friendly construction, food distribution, their sustainability and working with local communities, food processing, etc., Exposure visits to these institutions and learning to work with these institutions are part of the overall curriculum of the programme. Governance of the local body, exposure to traditional and modern forms of governance and community management.

Location: Puvidham or Partner organizations

Re-visit Farming -Festival & Culture (5 weeks) December 21st to 18th January NEW YEAR AND PONGAL

Participate in the Farm activities during the months of harvest, celebration, re-planting, season planning. Understand farm economics and the micro and macroeconomic practices and processes that impact farming and farm cycle. Discuss the potential to engage with various other initiatives in Southern India that may provide the required strength and sustainability exposure.

Learning on local ways of celebrating food, community, culture, and festivals. Understanding the deeper nature of food in local communities and the purpose and role of traditional food practices and their modern relevance. Learning from some of the experts in the field of traditional health and knowledge systems on festival and culture for rural livelihoods.

Location: Vaanagam

Reflection on Learning (4 weeks) 4th April to 2nd May

Reflection on learning so far and planning a way forward. Developing plans for the remaining part of the programme, review and re-work process for the candidates and the organizers together.

Location: Puvidham

 Yatra: On-road learning (5 weeks) 18th January to February 22nd

Learning on the road by traveling to various locations and staying and working with some of the most interesting ventures in sustainable futures - afforestation, textiles, rural education, conservation, natural resource management, waste management and several other sustainable practices in different parts of South India. Part of the trip will be Cycle Yatra that will consist of 2-week long cycle trip and moving around.

Location: On the Road, South India

Immersion in art and craft (6 weeks)  February 23rd to 4th April

Learning to spin, weave, paint, clay model, Construction of mud structures, Cooking, Natural dyes etc..

Location: Melkote Janapada trust

 Summarizing, Planning and BRAIN STORMING for their own project - (4 weeks) 3rd May 30th May

Location : Puvidham

Setting up of personal project/venture/initiative (4 weeks) BREAK 31st May to 28th June

Candidates are encouraged to develop their own ideas. They have to design their venture and check its feasibility! They will be provided with mentoring and linkages.

Sharing stories and creating pathways for a new future (2 weeks) June 29th to July 12th

The last part of the organized programme will have the candidates sharing their plans, insights, and stories and networking with others to become part of the Future Institution idea themselves.

Internship / Apprenticeship Options /Develop your own project   (11 months)- July 13th to June 13th

  • Organic farming, agro-forestry, natural substitutes for fertilizers and pesticides
  • Earth building design & construction
  • Bamboo, wood, and coconut product design & fabrication
  • Eco-friendly natural products
  • Teaching & curriculum development
  • Role of Soil Microbes in Soil Fertility
  • Spinning, weaving, and dyeing – the environmentally friendly way
  • Alternative energy (solar, wind and biogas) supply units
  • Food adulteration and water quality lab testing
  • Human powered machines design and construction
  • Farm tools design & fabrication
  • Miniature process equipment design & fabrication
  • Paper-making
  • Clay & terracotta design & firing
  • Cooking
  • Sewing & clothing production

Apply online or contact us for details.

* Limited scholarships are available and can be applied for in the program application.

Back to Basics: Partner Organisations