About Vanvadi

Vanvadi is nestled in the Sahyadri foothills of the Western Ghats, a global ‘biodiversity hotspot’. It is about 10 km from Neral Station (on Central Railway) between Mumbai and Pune. (If you are driving from Mumbai, the distance is about 90-100 km.)
Started in 1994 by over two dozen people, Vanvadi is a lush, collectively regenerated bio-diverse forest of 65 acres on gently undulating land … with brimming water bodies and seasonal streams flowing from mid-June to November. Most of the land was clear-felled just a year or two before it was bought. It now has over 80,000 trees, 90% tree cover, more than 120 traditionally useful plant species, over 50 forest food species … and a host of birds, reptiles, amphibians, arachnids, crabs, etc.
The numerous ecological services rendered by Vanvadi over the years have significantly benefited surrounding villages and the local eco-system, particularly enhancing the groundwater regime and water security of the down-stream regions; also as a low-cost model of ecological forest and biodiversity regeneration. Organic farming is practiced in about 2 acres.
Over the years, Vanvadi has conducted and hosted a number of events, activities, workshops and gatherings, particularly of an ecological and educational nature, earning considerable appreciative recognition and encouraging media coverage.
We envision an organically evolving ‘eco-versity’ and learning alliance … and a community where people can collaboratively live and learn, supporting each other in symbiotic harmony … like the forest around us! The pristine, unpolluted environs are ideal to interact with the natural elements – earth, water, air, sun, sky. Like-minded souls interested in learning, working and sharing can visit or volunteer here. 

Some workshops and activities hosted by Vanvadi

  • Forest walks with experienced adivasi elders to learn about traditionally useful plant species
  • Exploring faunal biodiversity - Birds, Amphibians, Reptiles, Insects, etc.
  • Natural Farming and organic horticulture of vegetables, fruits; seed saving, etc.
  • Ecological conservation and regeneration of natural resources like soil, water & biodiversity
  • Tribal culture & wisdom; art, music & dance
  • Alternative/meaningful, self-directed education 
  • Natural healing, meditation camps, medicinal plants, etc. 
  • Livelihood skills like hand-weaving, basket making, natural dyes, non-chemical soaps, seed jewellery, etc.
  • Eco-construction with natural materials
  • Early monsoon ‘Forest Foods Foraging’ walks
  • Annual forest festival (Vanutsav) since 2005
  • Treks & trails, camping, swimming, yoga …
  • Forest Food Festival of Konkan Western Ghats
  • Month-long rehabilitation of marginalized women

Present ‘Working Group’ of Vanvadi Members

Vinita and Bharat Mansata
Sarita and Ganesh Subramanium
Divya Bhatia
Mona Patrao
Rashmi Palkhivala
Sraddha Mansata (Bena)
Phiroze Palkhivala