Anshul has a background in soil science, Permaculture design and education. An engineer in Mechatronics, he worked with pedagogy and design before turning to Nature as the most meaningful and urgently needed source of learning. He has been farming since 2015 in different geographical and social contexts learning from indegenous communities and pioneering scientists about the relationships between ecological, social and human health. At his farm in Himachal Pradesh he conducted regular courses on soil health and systems thinking. He joined AuroOrchard in 2019 with the wish to develop an integral farm and serve AuroOrchard’s purpose of growing food for Auroville.

Bernard Leclerq

Belgian citizen, Soil expert

Dryland and wetland farming since 1979, 

Collection of  indigenous rice varieties,

Reclamation of highly eroded soils for forestry and agriculture since 1994

Terra preta and soil regeneration, natural farming

Actively engaged in Outreach 

Interview :

Have been involved in tree planting since my early youth. Founding member of the village Green Action group ( doen voor groen) Have done vegetable gardening equally since my days as a young boy.

Worked as volunteer in my late teens in social projects in Europe and North Africa.

Became a teacher working in special education ( mentally challenged youths )

Came to Auroville in 75. Stated dryland and wetland farming in 78 or 79( don’t remember. Specializing in indigenous rice cultivation. Collected 78 endangered indigenous rice varieties and maintained seed stock for  14 years.

Since 94 working on the reclamation of highly eroded soils for forestry and agriculture. Now also involved in the dissemination of information.

“how many acres of degraded land (red laterite) have you regenerated by what means?”

“How is this relevant”?

“Do you still have the 78 species of rice”? (maybe its not allowed even?)

Can you give more details of what dissemination you are involved in: writing, trainings, presentations: where, when, what scale? 

People want numbers… 

Another question: 

Auroville is in process of purchasing the “irumbai Riceland” of 16 acres, and there is another land for sale, opposite, next to Visitor Center. 

We are trying to find

a) a suitable project,

b) a  project team, and

c) a “farmer on the ground” : to fund the infrastructure, and eventually partly the land purchase. 

After few years of looking at the situation,  we see that maybe Moorthy could be the “farmer on the ground” – member of graingroup with Tomas and Herbert. (also grain group does the processing of the rice).  Or would you know a farmer who has big experience in organic rice cultivation, even somebody one could “hire”, somebody from Lake Estate or other Ashram farms? 

Then a Project team, hopefully with an extend team of auro Orchard??? Or Stephane Fayon (he might now stay on in Auroville), or Lucas team!? 

It should be a research project : either smart irrigation (AV Consulting), or… “research in rice varieties”!? You have 78 of them! 

Would you be the “godfather” of this project? Together with Deepika, and being involved more, or less… 

How could we combine your expertise with rice in a project proposal for Irumbai Riceland?

Do you have projects for “Terra preta” in Auroville? 

I do know Deoyani as well, she does our maps . 

Erik Jan Segers

Erik was born and raised in the Democratic Republic of Congo before moving to Belgium. Qualified as a tropical agronomist, he worked for seven years with ‘Terre & Humanisme’ in France (international agroecology organisation, created by Pierre Rabhi). Erik also brings his experiences as a project manager in African and Asian settings, and as an environmental activist, beekeeper and writer. He has been a valuable member of the Auro-Orchard team since 2015, supporting the organic-transition and developing our farming practices with his considerable academic, professional and hands-on knowledge and expertise.

Island Lescure

(France, UK)

Consulting arborist, expertise tropical trees

Qualified Professional Tree Inspection Certificate, Level 4 Diploma in Arboriculture

Planning & Consultancy, Arboriculture

Forest Steward

Lucas Dengel

lived in Auroville from 1975 to 1979 and from 1989 til today, qualified as medical doctor (MD) from Germany.
1988-1998 clinical practice at Auroville Health Centre;
From 1991 on (till date), initiated and involved in construction of toilets (public & school toilets, household level toilets) and education in toilet use;
Around 2000 coordinated construction of decentralized sewage treatment plants in Auroville and in a village school;
1990 on (till date) involved in programs of solid waste management and of composting of biowaste;
EcoPro – Auroville unit, (founder & executive since 2007) engaging in programs in ecological sanitation in villages and municipalities.

Background in Organic farming
1997 Trained in Bio-Dynamic agriculture in Tamil Nadu;
2000 til today Bio-Dynamic Association of India (BDAI) as teacher in BD farming from ; 2011- 2016 Secretary to BDAI from 2011 till 2016;
Til today involved in Demeter certification under BDAI;
1999 – 2006 Co-manager of an Auroville organic farm;
2015- 2021 coordinated organic farming field research.
Til today involved in farmers education in Auroville;
Til today coordinating farmers training programs in several districts of Tamil Nadu

1990 – today involved in occasional teaching programs (waste management, sanitation hygiene, nutritional health etc.) in schools, colleges, national and international conferences & workshops;
2011 – today regularly involved in teaching environmental management issues and agriculture at a school in Chennai; in setting up a school farm; in mentoring the teachers.

In my studies and in my teaching, have worked mainly on the meeting points of human health (individual and public) & medical care and of environmental health.
As teacher in the farming context, I focus on the concept of One Health, which stresses the interdependence of individual human health and health of the ecosystem (bio-diversity and resilience).
Main topics: cycle of nutrients; microbiomes of soils and food and human body; value of biowaste as fertilizer.

Nina Sengupta

Conservation Ecologist

Research interests : Biodiversity Conservation/Restoration, integrating conservation with development and Climate change adaptation, Edible wild greens

PhD – Wildlife Science/Conservation Biology, Virginia Tech, USA after studies in India; (Masters – Ecology w/ focus on Behavioral Ecology, Pondicherry Central University, Undergraduate – Economics, Geography, Political Science, Calcutta University.) 

Selected scholarships with UNDP, Worldbank and others

((Selected scholarship/Grant/Award recipient: World Bank-Joint Japan Scholarship, American Association of University Women, UNDP-New York, UNDP-India, UNDP-East-Africa, METLA -Finland, Conservation Innovation Grant, USA etc.))

 Have Working and collaboration experience with several international NGOs, corporates, and research and development institutions and corporate houses. 

International Wwork experience with NGOS, research and development organisations, corporates include: grassroots level planning, project/program evaluation, siting or mitigation/course correction for large scale projects, carbon sequestration through restoration, setting protocols for natural habitat assessments, EIA w/ biodiversity focus, and spatial research/planning involving tropical forests using remote sensing analysis. 

Future Research focus  : Biodiversity Conservation/Restoration, integrating conservation with development and Climate change adaptation, Edible wild greens


Priya Vincent

Research & capacity building in organic farming

PhD in Sociology, University of Surrey,

Worked as nurse, radiographer and teacher, market research manager

Authored several books on organic farming,

Founder and manager of Buddha Garden Community Farm which focuses on growing organic vegetables and fruit for the community. In addition the farm carries out academic research in smart irrigation (in collaboration with Heriot Watt University in Scotland) as well as teaching organic farming to a wide range of students.

Priya continues to write books and manuals as well as holding a website and youtube channel. Her aim is to further develop the educational focus in Buddha Garden both on the farm and virtual platforms.


Ramanan, a young Aurovilian with solid roots in the local culture, graduated in business and subsequently chose to follow his passion for and natural affinity with farming and animals. He uses his skills and capacity in many aspects of the farm, notably looking after the large poultry, and in planning and coordinating vegetable cultivation. He has attended a ‘train the trainers’ formation in organic farming in Thailand, and is keenly engaged in promoting sustainable practices through farm tours, educational visits, workshops and active networking, inspiring especially young people and burgeoning organic farmers with his enthusiasm.

Rishi Walker

French Citizen, Master, Geography, University Aix-Marseille Watershed mapping,

Sanctuary forest as gene-pool for South India, biodiversity and conservation – flora and fauna

Forester in Auroville since 2009