Nina, the green food expert

Nina finally relaxing at the hammocks after the big deadline

Today I want to tell you about our 1-week guest (and my friend) Nina Osswald. We all were very excited she finally made it here and happy that, despite a deadline for a report keeping her bound to the computer for long hours, we were able to introduce her to some glimpses of life in Auroville in general and at International House in particular.

Nina is not really new to things organic, zero waste or anything else to do with promoting a sustainable lifestyle. She has a background in Development Geography, with an M.A. degree from University of Freiburg, Germany. Since her graduation in 2007, she worked in different organisations in the sustainable consumption and production sector. Since 2009, she has lived in Hyderabad, A.P. and been researching the Indian market for organic food, focussing on urban market structures in South India. She is currently working for the Humboldt University Berlin, in the Indo-German cooperation project Sustainable Hyderabad (see, coordinating a survey of organic market structures in Hyderabad, Bombay and Bangalore in cooperation with International Competence Centre for Organic Agriculture (ICCOA).

Nina also started the Hyderabad Organic network, which aims to facilitate exchange of knowledge and ideas between stakeholders in the organic and sustainable agriculture movement in and around Hyderabad. But why not ask her herself about the reasons why she is here.

W: “So what made you come to Auroville after all despite your hectic schedule?”

N: “Ever since I first heard about Auroville – that must have been some time in 2009 when I came to India for the first time – I had wanted to come and visit. Many friends had told me wonderful things about Auroville. And since all things organic are my work and my passion, I was looking forward to seeing all the great work that Auroville communities are doing in sustainable construction, ecological living, soil and water conservation, organic farming.

First of all, I came to stay at International House in order to spend time with you (Wiebke). Secondly, I was very interested to see the activities this community is involved in, especially setting up the organic vegetable garden and building new structures with a zero waste approach. Apart from my research work in the organic food sector and a passion for organic horticulture, I am greatly interested in learning more about locally adapted sustainable construction techniques, soil and water conservation, and ecological living.

I am fascinated by all the vibrant community activities in Auroville, from afforestation, horticulture or food processing to sustainable construction and renewable energies. And maybe even more so by the sheer beauty and energy of the place, the forest, the buildings and the people.

As a researcher, I also loved the idea that everyone here is a researcher, a learner and teacher at the same time. And of course the concept of living together peaceful in a community of people who do not only strive to make a living, but to make live more beautiful and fulfilling every day!

Even after my short visit of one week, I am sure to come back for longer once I am done with my current project in Hyderabad to volunteer for some time in different Auroville communities.”

W: “So, will we see you again?”

N: “Yes, for sure. As a matter of fact, I have just decided to come back with my family who will visit me at the end of the year and I am just in the process of booking accommodation and flights, so that they too can experience this other side of India. I really look forward to coming back!!”

W: “Thanks, Nina, for your time, for the German tea and candles, which will remind us of you and which we will cherish every time we use them. Have a great journey back and all the best with your research efforts. Please keep us in the loop with your findings about the organic food market in India. Maybe, you can share some of your case studies with us for inspiration??”

N: “Sure. That would be my pleasure!”


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