Our work is not about putting a wall around cultures. On the contrary, it is about establishing closer contact between the most and least industrial parts of the world. We have found that this contact is genuinely empowering, and can help to strengthen communities
in both North and South.
~ Helena Norberg-Hodge ~
Learning from Ladakh is Local Futures’ experiential education program offering participants a range of opportunities to gain first-hand knowledge of the social and ecological issues facing a traditional culture as it meets the modern world.
Programs in Ladakh
Learning from Ladakh 2017
Local Futures’ Learning From Ladakh program 2017 will run from mid-June through September and will include the following activities and events:
- Global to Local Workshop(s): Between August 7-9 and 16-18 Local Futures will offer our popular 3-day interactive workshop series on globalization, development and localization in Leh;
- Traditional Knowledge & Skills Workshops: Workshop topics include: traditional food and farming systems of Ladakh, traditional ecological knowledge, appropriate/traditional technologies, natural/vernacular building techniques, basket weaving, and others. The workshops will be run in July and August in the town of Leh and nearby villages;
- Crop Mobs: Crop Mobs are a unique hands-on opportunity to learn about traditional Ladakhi farming while providing useful labor to local family farms. Late August through mid September is harvest season for much of Ladakh. During this period the region becomes a golden patchwork of small-scale barley and wheat fields – the traditional staple crops. Harvesting is a communal tradition where groups of families join together to work each other’s fields in cooperative succession.
These collective harvests are convivial events, combining work, group singing and periodic breaks for tea and chang (a slightly alcoholic traditional beverage made of fermented barley). Though this tradition persists in many villages, it is in decline, as the rapid changes brought by modernization are shifting the makeup, structure and function of village life. Young people tend to be away in Leh for work in the tourism sector, or studying at distant schools and colleges, while many men are employed in the army, tourism, government jobs or other, leaving much of the farm work in the villages to women and elders. Additionally, these days it is common to see hired labor from outside Ladakh doing the harvest.During the harvest season (early-to-mid September) Local Futures will help organize a number of informal “crop mobs” (collective harvesting events) on traditional farms near the town of Leh. Each “crop mob” will offer visitors and tourists a unique hands-on opportunity to learn about traditional Ladakhi farming while providing useful labor to local family farms.
Mindful Travel/Tourist Education Program
Every year, from mid-June through early September, we run a Mindful Travel/Tourist Education program that helps visitors to Ladakh minimize their impact on the local environment and adopt culturally sensitive practices. As part of this program, we screen two documentary films about Ladakh, globalization and development: Ancient Futures and The Economics of Happiness. We screen these films daily at 14:00 (except Sundays) at the Women’s Alliance of Ladakh, about a five to ten minute walk north of the main bazaar in Leh. The films are followed by wide-ranging discussions facilitated by Local Futures staff and volunteers.
We also offer private workshops and film screenings for tourist groups by arrangement. To request a workshop or film screening for a tourist group, contact [email protected]
The following articles provide more information about the negative impacts of development in Ladakh, as well as our work to counter them: