The Hidden Oasis

What started off as a family’s retirement plan of running a small orphanage, has now culminated into an eco- farm, an agri-tourism centre , which not only creates awareness about the environment, but also provides self sufficiency to the orphanage… A “EARN-LEARN-AND RETURN” CONCEPT ( Earn from tourism, Learn from Nature and Return to the orphanage)
For the day you spend here, most of the resources used by you are renewable.


Maganlal Gandhi Smriti Van

Situated on the outskirts of Phaltan, Maganlal Gandhi Smrutivan has been designed to immerse the child in us, in the world of trees, birds, water and soil. This 100 acre organic farm has been lovingly developed by Mr. Babulal Gandhi, keen activist during the Sarvodaya and Bhoodan movements, and his niece Ms. Madhavi Gandhi, along with the support of the entire family.

Placed in the rain-shadow region of the Sahyadari, this rocky, infertile land was converted into a captivating wilderness and an organic farm with decades of hard work and an unwavering vision.

This land offers to the beholder, wealth of trees and medicinal plants, water reservoir and canals, organic farm growing fruits and vegetables, fluttering butterflies, sightings of peacocks and other beautiful birds.

Hideout Farm

Close to Mumbai, A wellness destination dedicated to the healing and wellbeing of everyone who arrives here with an open mind and heart to surrender to the power of nature in our sacred fruit forest. Rejuvenate your senses in sustainably built home that is open to the positive energy of the earth. There are workshops where you can learn about:

  1. Natural living in harmony with the environment, each other, and our internal and external universe.
  2. Slow food, conscious food, soul-repairing food.
  3. Sustainable, organic, natural farming, also known as Ahimsa farming
  4. Raising your children with home-schooling
  5. Living healthy and independent of medications & vaccinations
  6. Home birthing/natural birthing

Swanandyog Prakalp Bhumi

An Innovative Educational project by ‘Janardan Laxman Shirsekar Shikshan Sanstha’, Bandra (east), Mumbai. Its set up with the avowed and solemn objective of providing congruence of nature and environment with the modernity and scientific advancement. Sprawled across 25 acres in a serene and scenic beauty and removed away from hurly-burly of agonising cities, the village Sonawale provides necessary ambience for learning amidst dazzling opulent natural surroundings. Science Center, Geo-Park, Natural Farming, Nakshatra Garden, Cow sheds and Gobar gas are few activities you can enjoy and enlighten yourself with, when you visit this place. Be close to Nature, Be here!

Ranjan Belkhode, Apte Road- Pune

I am eating Organic vegetables because Organic is healthy for body. It’s kind of future investment for me and my family. After all, Health is Wealth.

ADK Agro, Afrin D Kale

Kissan Afrin D. Kale (ADK Agro) runs a farm nestled in a 4-acre serene land in Pimpalgaon (Tarfe Ghode), which is approximately 75 km from Pune city, on Manchar – Bhima Shankar road.

One of the landmark is Sharda Devi temple built in Hemadpanthi style is situated a stone throw away. Kissan Afrin has a degree in civil engineering from Pune. She is professional Interior designer, too. While most of her family are farmers. She visits her farm weekly to harvest her crops. She has two sons named Samar and Aman and husband Dilip who works as a Deputy Engineer.

ADK Agro is managed by a family of two, Ravi and Roshni. They grow only organic vegetables and pulses. There are no factories in this area because of the reserve forests of Bhima Shankar. The land is not contaminated by toxins or any other chemicals which pretty much reserves the natural aroma of multi-cropping.

During the kharif, she grows wheat, chana, and other vegetables. She rotates her crops based on climate and seasons. When you visit her farm, she will explain the importance of seasonal crops and seasonal diet.

Her main objective is to bridge the gap between her consumers and her farm. Children and adults can work on the farm by getting to know the daily chores of a farmer’s life.

Kissan Afrin is a very enthusiastic farmer and talker. She loves to share her family stories of farming and living a healthy lifestyle. Furthermore, she enjoys teaching farming techniques and all essentials related to farming to children. She can be contacted to teach farming at your local school.

Features of the Farm:

  • Indian toilet
  • Bullock cart
  • Goats
  • Cows
  • First Aid kit
  • Shelter for 40 people
  • Board Games
  • Carom board
  • Veg Food
  • Bottle water
  • Temple visit
  • Mandap
  • River tour

Farms are a magical place for little eyes and hands!

Large vehicles travel through them, vegetables and fruit grow from them, and animals from large to small inhabit them. It is the cornucopia of activities for the entire family during every season around Pune as each time of the year brings an opportunity to pick a different fruit or vegetable. Most farms have a petting zoo which provides children an infinite amount of joy. They are fascinated with feeding cows, goats, sheep, and gauran chickens just to name a few.
In recent years, farms have been expanding their offerings. Don’t be surprised if you see enough variety to keep your family at the farm for a full day visit. From bailgaadi rides to ghaspus pyramids to even traditional village meals workshops and camps.

1) Encourages Language Development

To identify animals as they stand before your baby or toddler, carries so much weight as they are absorbing vocabulary words. As they become preschoolers, you can begin to identify differences in male vs. female vocabulary in regards to the animals. For example, a duck can now be a duck, drake and a duckling. Another example is that you can identify different cow breeds such as: Desi, Jersey, Angus, Holstein, etc.

Beforehand, teachers can introduce their children to the animals they would see by looking at books such as Moo or 1001 Things to Spot on the Farm. After the trip, they loved reading the books because now they had an authentic connection with the two-dimensional pages. Exposing your children to different experiences expands their comprehension of the world that surrounds them.

2) Sensory Learning

There are so many sensory opportunities at a farm: the textures of the animal fur, the dryness of the ghaspus, the wet ghas and the smooth vegetables from the farmer’s market, just to name a few. Farms offer a wide variety of contrasting tactile experiences for children. As they roam and touch things, let them enjoy all the information that they are absorbing. Carry natural antibacterial soap if it makes you feel more comfortable but their little minds are processing information at alarming rates. Ask them to describe what they feel as well as identify words of different textures (smooth, dry, wet, silky, furry).

Imagine all the smells that will bombard their noses (or if that is an unpleasant thought don’t imagine all the smells of the animals). As you come across an unusual smell, identify it and where it is coming from. It is not just the smell of the animals, but the grass, the feed, the flowers, the fruit and vegetables you are picking along with the fresh air.

One of many favorite places to relax is the oversized sandbox at some local farms that surrounds a tree. Children flock to this location as do parents but all for different reasons. Children love playing with the various dump trucks and pails. Parents love this space because it is so large several children can play while they take a break.

An oversized sandbox will be fun for everyone.

An oversized sandbox will be fun for everyone.

3) Story Time

Do you read to your children about the farm? If so, have you ever thought about taking them to a story time at the farm? If so, Annadata volunteers will offer story times during the farm visit. Some farms offer story time with traditional stories of Indian farm life before British occupation.

4) Increases Their Appreciation of Nature

It is surprising how many children don’t have a full understanding of where our food comes from! By visiting a farm, they can see firsthand where and how they get their favorite foods. Taking children to the farm exposes to them to the understanding that plants are grown and meat comes from animals. Based on their age, maturity and emotional sensitivity, you can introduce different concepts during the visit. For young toddlers, you may just identify animals and food. For older children, you may want to discuss scientific concepts.

Activity: Farm Passport

A small Farm Passport (FP) will be created for students and adults. This passport will be utilized for multiple farm visits. Within the passport, the necessary profile of the passport holder will be indicated. Along with personal information, each farm visit will be documented. The passport holder will be responsible to get the necessary stamp from the farmer and their respective activities. The passport will be returned to Annadata organizers or School to retain and utilize for future farm visit. This is to avoid loss of FP and creation of multiple passport.

5) Academic Information & Hands On Learning Experiences

Farms are offering unique academic information. Beyond the story time and tours, there are ample opportunities for children and adults to learn more.

Children learning the interesting anatomy of a cow.

Children learning the interesting anatomy of a cow.

6) Promotes Healthy Living

Get outside and play! Farms are educational playgrounds for young minds. Being active is not only fun, it also promotes a healthy lifestyle. Corn mazes will get kids walking (and running) while ghaspus pyramids gets them climbing. Don’t forget about the corn boxes that offer endless fun!

7) Enhances Problem Solving Skills

At corn mazes, children will not only get plenty of physical activity (some of them take hours to complete) but they will also engage their brain in problem solving skills. Some corn mazes like the has trivia questions at each stop which also adds to the excitement and learning. I know it may be hard, but let the kids decide which way to go. They can be strategic by following the map or just use a trial-and-error method. Either way, they are boosting their cognitive development!

8) Boosts Motor Skills

Fine motor skills are constantly being developed when you pick your own fruits and vegetables. Those little fingers love to pick fruits and vegetables especially when they can taste the fruits of their labor (sorry for the intended pun). As well, when children have the opportunity to feed animals at the petting zoo that is an opportunity for them to improve fine motor skills as well. The seeds to feed the goats and sheep are tiny and so they need to manipulate their hands so that they don’t drop the food.
There are so many ways to boost gross motor skills as well. Children can climb the ghaspus pyramids or run through the ghaspus bale mazes.

Jumping off the last step on the ghaspus pyramid requires skills.

Jumping off the last step on the ghaspus pyramid requires skills.

9) Introduction to Scientific Concepts

Farms offer so many opportunities for kids to learn about science. Kids are introduced to botany (the study of plants), agriculture and horticulture (the cultivation of various fruits, vegetables, herbs, flowers and more). There is so much science involved in planting and growing fruits and vegetables. Educational ghaspus rides help families understand all the steps involved in making produce. Animal science is also introduced at farms as kids learn what animals thrive on a farm as well as what they eat and how they interact.

Loved looking for all the pollinators during the Farm Tour!

Loved looking for all the pollinators during the Farm Tour!

10) Exploration and Discovery

Pick your own farms will have the children motivated to pick their own food which also gets them eating a wider variety of fruits and vegetables. By taking them apple picking they not only see different apples but also taste the differences in the varieties. Visiting different farms will introduce your children to different types of produce. Experiment and try some of these unique variety of fruits and vegetables. Encourage some risk taking (but ask the farmers recommendations on how to prepare the food to ensure you are not setting up this experiment for failure!).

Following is a suggested list for a first aid kit. This is the standard used by other industries for emergency first aid treatment. The list for a Number 1 First Aid Kit contains enough material for up to nine people, and includes:

  1. 10 antiseptic cleansing towelettes, individually packaged
  2. 25 sterile adhesive dressings, individually packaged
  3. 10 – 10 centimeters x 10 centimeters sterile gauze pads, individually packaged
  4. 2 – 10 centimeters x 10 centimeters sterile compress dressings, with ties, individually packaged
  5. 2 – 15 centimeters x 15 centimeters sterile compress dressings, with ties, individually packaged
  6. 2 conform gauze bandages – 75 millimeters wide
  7. 3 cotton triangular bandages
  8. Detol or wound cleaning solution
  9. Small cut antiseptic ointment
  10. Rash powder
  11. Eye/skin wash
  12. Spray for burns
  13. 5 safety pins – assorted sizes
  14. 1 pair of scissors
  15. 1 pair of tweezers
  16. 1 – 25 millimeters x 4.5 meters of adhesive tape
  17. 1 crepe tension bandage – 75 millimeters wide
  18. 1 resuscitation barrier device with a one-way valve
  19. 4 pairs of disposable surgical gloves
  20. 1 first aid instructional manual (condensed)
  21. 1 inventory of kit contents
  22. 1 water proof waste bag

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