As part of the ‘Becoming and Being a Shifu (Master)’ program a program to develop skills (programming and VLSI), competencies (using skills to create healthy workplaces and environment) and inner capacity (universal values) the participants are exploring some activities of Auroville. This short report is about the visit to Evergeen where we went for a ‘weed walk’ with Dr. Nina Sengupta who is an ecologist and an Aurovilian.
At C3STREAM Land Designs we learn, grow, work and teach and 5 of us went along with 7 Shifians to learn and grow.
Our visit started with the introduction of the book written by Dr. Nina – ‘Edible Weeds and Naturally Growing Plants in Auroville’. It was interesting to see that the book cover was hand-made, made from eco-friendly material. The treasure started unfolding with every plant she included in the book. Every book has two copies – one with precisely scaled plants in color and the other one with outlines which can be used as hands-on, color it to get closer to these plants.
We walked through the book one plant at a time and learned about the properties of edible weeds like Antigonan Leptopus. The first myth that was demystified while having this walk is not all weeds are non-edible, and many of them can be used not only for medicinal purposes but are a good source of nutrients for humans too. Generally, we ignore these weeds considering everything as another type of grass but they are all around us and we only have to recognize them and learn which parts of that particular weed are edible.
Once we recognize which parts are edible, then comes the next important thing – the appropriate quantity and frequency of weed to eat, the process of cooking if required. For example, some weeds can be used well after blanching them, while other weeds can be eaten raw.
The weed-walk was getting more and more interesting as we got to see and taste the different weeds. While we were able to observe weeds, on the other hand, we got closer to nature, and that also allowed us to express our learning. There are two major varieties of weeds – wild and cultivated weeds. Some species originated late, which are not mentioned in the Ayurveda. We need to constantly keep learning to know more about these weeds and start looking at these weeds from different perspectives whenever we see them around us.
The walk ended with the tasty herbal tea made by Archana and with the interactive conversation about edible-weeds, experiences of Nina as an ecologist, and Auroville in general. Thanks to Nina, Archana, and the Evergreen team for this wonderful opportunity.
~Team Shifu with C3STREAMLand members