Pedaling and Performing and Stuffing our way to Sustainability

As the year of the bicycle draws to a close, thousands of AID volunteers, well-wishers, family and friends-of-friends of AID around the world are preparing to take down the calendar that brought outstanding photographs of bicycles in use in diverse aspects of sustainable development including health, environment, employment, education, civic engagement and girl power.  The hard work, heartfelt aspirations, and simple joy shine through all the months of the year.

Not a month has gone by that Bicycles have not made news – be it the rise of bicycle sharing programs in cities and villages, the struggle for bicycle lanes and rights of cyclists, and the inspiring messages of youth undertaking bicycle tours to raise awareness of green living and green policy.  Even as we fold the 2013 calendar, let us recommit ourselves to the humble bicycle, and the rights and safety of the people who pedal the path of sustainability.
In 2014, our walls will showcase performance from various regions and traditions of India, as well as projects reflecting the depth, diversity, and reach of AID work in sustainable development.  Kavita from Boston has brought together the sounds of Bhil, Baul, Kalbelia, Garo, Muria and other musical and dance traditions featured in the 2014 AID Calendar in this soul-stirring video:  Natya.
Working on the eve of Thanksgiving, AID Berkeley volunteers stuffed envelopes with calendars and the letter to donors to ensure timely year-end mailing before the onset of final exams, papers and winter travel.
Now that I know this, you must be asking, what do I do? 
  • Watch the video
  • Reach out to to your friends, neighbors, co-workers and family to let them know about the work AID is doing in collaboration with grassroots organizations.
  • Ask them to keep the AID 2014 calendar on the wall of their homes and offices, to remember AID all year long.
  • Send a calendar as a new year gift to near and dear.
  • Raise funds for AID!
2014 Natya: Performance, Identity, Expression | video
2013 Bicycle:  Pedaling towards Sustainability | video

2012 Safar: Along Roads Less Travelled | video
2011 Jivika: Living in the Margins
2010 Makan: A Place Called Home | video
2009 Roti: Sharing Food, Sharing Values | video
2008 Kapda: Clothing the Nation
2007 Nurturing Nature
2006 Pattachitra on Rural Living
2005 Looking Forward: A Journey through North East India
2004 Wisdom of Grassroots
2003 Women and Work (Photos of P. Sainath)
2002 Inspiring Changes
2000 Rethinking India (Photos from Narmada Valley)


Educational and non profit outreach in US

Educational and non profit outreach in us

Aashish (Bay Area) is taking care of sending calendars to schools in the US. Renuka, Swati and selva are taking care of sending to orgs in india.
We are actually sending to university departments and a few nonprofit organisations working in areas related to sustainable development, india, agriculture and poverty – here is the list of what we have so far – pls suggest additional names. Also if you can suggest high school teachers who would use the calendar for educational purposes we would like to send to them as well.

we have drafted this cover letter to send with it:

Dear ………..

Greetings on behalf of the Association for India’s Development. Please accept our gift of a complimentary 2009 calendar. Thousands of hours of labor of love were put into forging the partnerships with the people at the forefront of social change and sustainable development in India, and developing this publication as a tool to raise awareness on issues of food security, livelihood of farmers, sustainability of farming and vitality of Mother Earth.

As a group of volunteers, we have been alarmed by the agrarian crisis in India. As we studied the issue, we were awakened to the crisis in the United States as well. We see the links between this global crisis and many issues of human development, and through Association for India’s Development, we are joining with grasroots organizations in rural and remote areas in India to address these holistically. In solidarity with people’s movements and non-governmental organizations, AID works to address issues of poverty, injustice, environment, human rights, health, education, livelihoods and all aspects of development.

We have come across your work and would like to stay in contact with you. May we call on you for guidance when we are working on issues related to your areas of research and expertise? We would appreciate it if you could share this calendar with your colleagues or students. And please do let us know if we can ever be of help as you work on issues of rural development, sustainable agricutlure and related issues. We have 35 chapters and several hundred volunteers in the United States, working with over 100 grassroots organizations in India.

With warmest wishes for the new year,


Re: Presenting . . . AID Calendar 2009!

Re: Presenting . . . AID Calendar 2009!


Aquene Freechild presents the AID 2009 calendar, hot off the press in Berkeley at the Students for Bhopal Annual COnference.

ROTI: Sharing Food, Sharing Values, 2009 calendar of AID makes its debut in meeting of Students for Bhopal, Berkeley.

SfB volunteers gave the calendar a warm welcome, noting the strong solidarity between the causes of the Bhopal survivors, the struggling farmers and all whose livelihood and justice for Bhopal. Aquene noted that such connections were brought out in Dominique LaPierre’s novel 5 Minutes Past Midnight in Bhopal
as well.


AID Calendar Video: Roti – Jis Des Mein Ganga Behti Hain

AID Calendar Video: Roti – Jis Des Mein Ganga Behti Hain

Dear friends,

This 3 minute video advertises the 2009 AID calendar Roti to the tune of Jis Des Mein Ganga Behti Hain song with beautiful pictures and theme of food and agriculture.

Show at your chapter concerts, meetings etc!

Download high res version by clicking this link!!

The hi res link will expire in 7 days so download soon!!

Watch low res version in youtube:
[url]♫ Sharing Food, Sharing Values ♫:[/url]

Hi Res version is far superior in picture quality….its worth downloading.



Draft INTRO for Roti calendar

 Draft INTRO for Roti calendar

Sai itna dijiye, ja main kutum samay
main bhi bhukha na rahun, sadhu na bhukha jaye

Give me enough so that my family is fed,
So that I don’t go hungry and neither does the mendicant

Kabir, 15th century mystic and poet

I n d i a is famous for its amazing variety of food, range of crops and myriad preparations. Perhaps more precious is the Indian cultural perspective of food not as a commodity but a life-giver for all to share, indeed as a form of the divine: annam parabrahma svarupam. To feed an unexpected guest is an honour.

The farmer, regarded as annadata or giver of food, is not simply someone who makes a living out of cultivation, just as a scientist is a symbol of learning, of technical advancement, not just someone who works for pay in a laboratory.

Why then do we have in India a massive crisis where millions of farmers face debt and distress, thousands commit suicide, and half the country goes to sleep hungry? How does the other half see this? Should people’s right over land, water, seeds, knowledge and power be passed on to a few entities, turning skilled farmers into unskilled construction workers?

To raise awareness and build solidarity for the struggling farmers, AID volunteers around the world held candlelight vigils on October 2, the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi. Journalists like Shree Padre, Jaideep Hardikar, P. Sainath and AID Saathis Dayamani Barla and Nityanand Jayaraman have worked to bring issues of land, water, hunger, and debt to the public, and to policy-makers. AID volunteers pledge to learn more about the crisis and its reasons, and to support possible solutions.

Organizations that promote farmers’ livelihoods and food security have raised key issues and questions. What government policies, support systems, and subsidies have increased farmers’ dependence on chemical fertilizers, pesticides and seeds from the market? Why have people lost traditional practices of saving seeds and low-input farming? While green revolution had promised food sovereignty, it has not only pauperized the farmers, but also left soil depleted and crops more vulnerable, requiring more and more expensive inputs.

To break this vicious cycle, AID supports groups that promote low-input sustainable agriculture. In Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, West Bengal, and Uttarakhand, our partners are reclaiming wastelands, regenerating soil, and protecting crops without pesticides. In Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, landless Dalit farmers are securing land rights, composting their own biomass, and planting seeds for tomorrow. As concerned citizens, we also demand farmer-friendly government policies.

And then there are choices that are personal but could be just as significant. Who grows, harvests, packs, transports and markets the food we eat daily? What do they earn? What do they eat? Do they have homes? How far does our food travel? How much fuel is used in transport and cooling? Are we fooled by the cosmetics that give it a “fresh” look at journey’s end? Which do we prefer – glossy fruits uniformly arranged on climate-controlled shelves or oddly shaped, unevenly colored fruits on a farmer’s cart?

These questions highlight our power as consumers to tilt the market away from vegetables steeped in pesticides and legumes coated with metanil yellow, towards organically grown vegetables, low-input grains, fairly traded to give the farmer a take-home wage rather than mounting debt. Can we exercise this power? What if our common humanity depends on it? Wishing you peace and joy in 2009, we welcome you to join AID. Let us make a difference together.