Sustainable living in a regenerated forest in Neral, Maharashtra, India



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    within 11 days


 Min stay requested: 1 month or more

  • Description


    We are a non-profit regenerated forest collective near Neral in Maharashtra, located almost three hours away from Mumbai. The collective comprises 24 people across different professions, who revived a 65-acre piece of land over the past 26 years, situated in the foothills of the Sahyadris into a beautiful forest.

    The revived land now has over 90 percent tree cover and is home to over 120+ traditionally useful plant species (including 54 forest food species) and a host of birds, reptiles, amphibians, arachnids, and crabs.

    The space is maintained & managed by members and a local Adivasi/ Tribal family of Mahadu Bua, Ambibai, Daulat, Kalpana, with the help of volunteers. They host, manage programs, conduct walks/treks, cook food, wash dishes, oversee on-going work, and help with documentation and other tasks, as needed from time to time. We have a resident volunteer living at all times. Various members of the Collective are present on a rotation basis. For other activities, the local Adivasi communities from the region are engaged and about four to 12 people are hired depending on their requirements and the work involved.

    We are currently involved with not just the maintenance and regeneration of the Forest but also the following:
    - Sustainable entruerpreneruship
    - Eco Tourism
    - Building dams and desilting of stream beds and water bodies
    - Biodiversity studies and listing
    - Reviving local wells

    Conservation Activities and Impact on Local Communities
    The collective has been actively engaged in rainwater harvesting and groundwater recharge activities. One of these was building check dams on the streams. We have built about six check dams — a large one which is 8ft in height and 40ft in length. The five others are about 3-4ft in height and 10 to 20 ft long.

    The presence of so many trees on the property helped the soil retain moisture. The land under the forest becomes like a sponge with open pores and helps the water percolate and recharge the groundwater aquifers.

    One of the central focus is soil conservation. Bharat (founder) recognizes the importance for soil conservation from being able to grow food to retain significant amounts of Carbon from the air.

    “Since some people from the village had engaged with us before for activities we had carried out before, they approached seeking help. They were experiencing a scarcity of water and needed water from the well for themselves and their thirsty cattle. So, we helped the villagers de-silt the well and extend the rim of the well up to 5ft,” explains Bharat.

    The collective now wants to scale up their conservation activities, particularly rainwater harvesting, increase farming and conduct more forest-related workshops and activities for people to come and attend.
    We also look forward to adding new members to their group who can be instrumental in carrying out these activities and also provide a fresh impetus to environmental conservation.

    A forest eco-versity on our land where people can learn everything related to ecology, nature, forest, farming, habitats, and sustainable livelihoods. We want new people to come on board and teach these; and where people learn skills practically rather than just theoretically. We also want to promote culture, music, art, natural healing, and meditation. Lastly, we envision a community – an organically evolving eco-village – where people can learn from each other and grow just like the forest around us.

  • Types of help and learning opportunities

    Types of help and learning opportunities

    Art Projects
    Help with Eco Projects
    DIY and building projects
    Farmstay help
    Creating/ Cooking family meals
    Help around the house
    General Maintenance

  • UN sustainablity goals this host is trying to achieve

    UN sustainablity goals this host is trying to achieve

    UN goals
    No poverty
    Zero hunger
    Good health and well-being
    Quality education
    Gender equality
    Clean water and sanitation
    Affordable and clean energy
    Decent work and economic growth
    Industries, innovation and infrastructure
    Reduce inequality
    Sustainable cities and communities
    Responsible consumption and production
    Climate action
    Life below water
    Life on land
    Peace, justice and strong institutions
    Partnerships for the goals
  • Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Volunteers will get to learn from individuals like Bharat Mansata and others.
    The original members of Forest happen to be people from the initial ecological and sustainable movements in India.
    Learn forest conservation.
    Learn about indigenous forest food and species.
    Interact with Adivasi/ tribals and learn about the forest from them. Also, visit their village which is 10 minutes walking from the forest.
    Community living.
    Sustainable living.

  • Help


    Forest Conservation
    Natural Farming/ Forest Farming
    Soap Making
    Forest harvest/ scavenging
    Creating art from waste
    Sustainable DIY
    Rental listings management
    Camping, Hiking, Forest Walks - Organising and managing
    Photography/ Film-making
    Yoga and meditation practices
    Social Media Marketing
    Content Writing
    Forest Tree Listing

  • Languages

    Languages spoken
    English: Fluent
    Hindi: Fluent
    Marathi: Fluent

    This host offers a language exchange
    This host has indicated that they are interested in sharing their own language or learning a new language.
    You can contact them directly for more information.

  • Accommodation


    Shared community house. We provide sleeping mattresses and pillows.
    You are welcome to bring your own tents and pitch around the community house or in the forest.
    We provide full access to the kitchen and three meals a day. (Meals are jointly prepared by all residents)

  • What else ...

    What else ...

    The space is maintained & managed by members and a local Adivasi family of Mahadu Bua,
    Ambibai, Daulat, Kalpana, with the help of volunteers. They host, manage programs, conduct
    walks/treks, cook food, wash dishes, oversee on-going work, and help with documentation and other
    tasks, as needed from time to time.

    • We provide simple, vegetarian food, and shared accommodation. We provide mattresses and pillow and sometimes have extra sleeping bags available.

    • Please bring your own bed sheets or sleeping bag and torch; umbrella and mosquito net (during
    monsoon); perhaps also any musical instrument you play, ....

    • We have no grid electricity and depend on a small solar panel. Mobile network is reliable in a few identified spots on the property

    • Your safety is our concern, but the responsibility of looking after yourself is yours!

    • We strongly encourage use of eco-friendly products in our forest, and request you to avoid any and all use
    of plastics, chemical soaps, detergents, toothpaste, etc.

  • A little more information

    A little more information

    • Internet access

    • Limited internet access

      Limited internet access

    • We have pets

    • We are smokers

    • Can host families

  • Can host digital nomads

    Can host digital nomads

    Please bring a JIO Dongle or Sim Card of your own. Please note that there are specific spots where the data is good for video calls and working. These spots are not always close to the community house. We dont promise any hi-speed internet and we are off the grid. We charge using neighbour's properties and solar panels

  • Space for parking camper vans

    Space for parking camper vans

    We have ample parking space.

  • Can possibly accept pets

    Can possibly accept pets

    We already have two cats living on the property. Other pets are welcome.

  • How many Workawayers can stay?

    How many Workawayers can stay?

    More than two

  • ...

    Hours expected

    Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week

Host ref number: 182788777375