The Optimist Citizen

An Israeli man who left his job and came to India to grow 70 acres of Edible forest

 Story of Aviram Rozin – Founder of Sadhana Forest
The story was originally published on 3rd Februrary 2016 and updated on March 3 2019

Along with many tourists, Aviram Rozin too wanted to explore and experience India’s rich culture and diversity in every way. Coming from a brown (concrete) jungle in Israel, he wanted to get lost for a while in the green forests of India. His corporate life had started taking its toll, and before it could land him in lifelong ailments, he wanted to explore and make a drift in his life. As he moved from the lush greens of Kerala, up north, he saw the green cover rapidly depleting, until he reached the concrete jungle of Chennai. Pained by this sudden ecological change within a short distance, he decided to do something about it. A chance discussion over this with a friend’s family in Chennai, led him to Auroville, where he found many like him, pursuing their own passions. 3 years later packing their bags from Israel, Aviram, his wife Yorit and daughter Osher relocated to India.

Aviram Rozin
Aviram Rozin with a donor from France

Investing a major part of their savings, all they could buy was a 70 acre barren land at Auroville. Facing the challenge of survival, the trio set to seed the land with locally collected seeds of all edible plants. While the local community helped them build a hut for themselves, Aviram scanned the neighbourhood for plants and trees going extinct, and got their seeds and saplings. Over 13 years of extensive work with the community, planting trees for a sustainable living, he built ‘SADHANA FOREST’ representing their disciplined and dedicated benevolent service.

Aviram and team,filling the bottle for wick irrigation
Aviram and team,filling the bottle for wick irrigation

Aviram believes that nature thrives on a Barter system, where if you do something for nature, nature gives back something equivalent to you in return. Talking about his initial tough days he says that although there was resistance and fear in the community, it was short-lived and the passion for making his dream come true, outlived all their obstacles and hardships. He recounts his best moment as the day, he was awarded in Denmark for his work in India, by the Indian Ambassador of Denmark. Standing in front of the Indian National Flag and receiving the award, gave him a sense of belongingness to India.

To leave his country and come to India, to venture into something completely new, Aviram Rozin was never apprehensive about the new mission in his life. He believed that if he did it right, the forest would give food security to many people, and also help the planet regain its green cover. Aviram’s wife Yorit and their daughters Osher and Shalev are also equally committed to the project and the mission. Aviram counts his achievements over his failures, his good days over his struggle, and his passion for humanity over the hardships.

Aviram Rozin with a volunteer at Sadhna Forest, Kenya
Aviram Rozin with a volunteer at Sadhna Forest, Kenya

‘Sadhana Forest’ is now a bustling eco-friendly settlement with thatched houses, wind powered pump, solar powered LED lighting, compost toilets, a vegan kitchen, energy efficient stoves, multiple methods of water harvesting and around 18000 indigenous trees. It attracts 1000 plus volunteers every year. They live, work, cook, eat, sing and dance together. No one pays and no one gets paid either. Many have left their corporate careers to immerse themselves completely in Sadhana Forest. Apart from India, Aviram has expanded his mission to two other places, Haiti and Kenya where he has established indigenous forestry as Project Sadhana Forest. He soon hopes to expand this project in Morocco as well.

Lunch in the communal room in Sadhana Forest
Lunch in the communal room in Sadhana Forest

He is now also a member of the Global Restoration Council  which is an international committee on land restoration issues constituted by the World Resources Institute, Washington, DC. Aviram Rozin  is also a member of the board of the Foundation for World Education and the Advisory Board of the Sustainable Living Lab, Lausanne, Switzerland.

If you want to contribute to Sadhana Forest Click Here.


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