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The Sonave Connection

What do you think is common between a wellness retreat, a banana muffin and a friendly banter?? You may think it is quiet odd a combination. But for me, it turned out to be a connection which I have enjoyed, cherished so far and will continue to do further. So let me elaborate more on this interesting tale.

Two minds; one goal

It all started with me attending 'The Darjeeling Wellness Retreat' conducted by India's famous nutritionist, fitness professional and Yoga practitioner, Rujuta Diwekar. This Wellness Retreat is a great way to rejuvenate, learn good practices and tips from Rujuta on eating well and health. During an informal interaction with Rujuta and her mother Mrs. Rekha Diwekar, we bonded a lot over our common goal of propagating the 'Local to Global' ideology to a wider audience. Both of us are aware and passionate about our traditional medicinal plants and their value in our Indian heritage. We were of the opinion that this knowledge and the conservation of these plants that define our heritage, should have a better reach within India and abroad too. With Yoga attaining a global recognition, our local super foods, herbs and age old wisdom about using them right, was the next big thing to capture the awareness of local and global minds. This was a thought and goal that set in motion the next set of events.

Rekha Tai took great interest in my past work on herbal gardens and in my best seller book 'Ayur Garden', which highlights our indegenious herbs and speaks about by their usage according to Ayurveda and the methods of cultivating them. Rujuta thought it would be great if we could collaborate on developing a herbal garden for the Diwekars, to start off with. And so the dice was rolled and the stage was set!

The 'Karmabhumi' : Sonave

The Diwekar's have an ancestral home and land at Sonave known as the 'Diwekar Wadi', around 60kms away from Thane. This fertile land, it's ancestral value, good climate and proximity to Mumbai, made Sonave an ideal destination for Rujuta's outdoor programmes and her community farming projects. Hence choosing Sonave as the site for the Herbal Garden plantation was not difficult for us. The idea was to cultivate and conserve, plants with medicinal and nutritional value. These plants could be showcased and talked about, to Rujuta's big personal and professional family. Also, the food recipes, using the produce of these plants would be an added bonus to the programme.

After multiple rounds of conceptualization and discussions, we began work on the Herbal Garden project at Sonave in the year 2015. One acre of land was to be developed into a Herbal Garden. Plants like Lemon Grass, Citronella, Adhulsa, Brahmi, Shatavari are just few of the plants which I had finalized for cultivation in the Herbal Garden. The project progressed in a gradual manner and today the herbal garden is blooming and a great asset.

This initial success and Rujuta's faith in me, led to me doing two more different projects for Rujuta, which I will elaborate in detail in the successive articles.

Our latest collaboration with Rujuta, is for a Spice Garden at Sonave. We started this project in Dec 2020 and is a plantation planned and executed by Bioconcepts. This plantation is a collection of various spice plants, which are known for their medicinal and culinary value. This too is a part of the various plantations which Rujuta, showcases during her nutrition programmes.

Overall, the instant connect which was formed in 2015, during a friendly chat has come a long way to become a bond of a common goal and comfort. It has been an extremely fulfilling journey so far and will continue further. Rujuta is a very passionate professional and an equally wonderful person, who is working towards a very good cause. It feels great to be able to contribute in my own way to it, through Bioconcepts.

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