While most of us either buy vegetables from our local sabziwalas or shop organic produce from stores, a few passionate people actually grow their own vegetables and herbs to ensure their freshness. After all, there is nothing more satisfying that plucking you own vegetables and cooking them. It’s a very emotional and creative thing! And most importantly, it’s a very rewarding experience. CITY DWELLERS CAN DO IT TOO
Who says city dwellers cannot experience the joy of growing their own produce? “Many feel it’s difficult to grow your own veggies unless you have an acre or two in your backyard, or even a backyard to begin with. It’s unlikely that you will be able to grow heaps of vegetables to make your local vegetable wallah think more seriously about his financial future. You can, however, mitigate the effects of the harmful pesticides that raw vegetables seem to come with, by creating a little kitchen garden of your own. Instead of the all or nothing approach – where you feel that the problem of pesticides in food is too big to tackle via a few potted plants – why not adopt ‘the little goes a long way in ensuring your health’ approach,” says nutritionist Pooja Makhija who feels a kitchen garden is a good way to begin the act of growing your own food. The phrase ‘kitchen garden’ is of course relative to whether your kitchen lends itself to be a garden but any spot where the sun shines the strongest and the longest will do. “Consult a gardener before you decide on the plant and herbs you want to grow. Also, you may need to ensure that the soil drains properly on the spot. New gardeners can start slowly without being afraid to make mistakes,” adds Makhija. Tulsi (holu basil), pudina (mint), dhaniya (coriander) and kadi patta (curry leaf) are some of the simplest plants to start with.
HOT TREND: COMMUNITY FARMING
As city dwellers, we often wonder whether we are consuming healthy produce! And even if we wish to grow our own veggies, it’s either the space or the time constraint that doesn’t allow us to do so. While most of us are extremely busy with our day-to-day work routines, taking care of a farm is a far-fetched thought. Communityfarming comes to our rescue here! “The basic idea of a communityfarm like Farmizen is you grow your own chemical-free fruits and vegetables in a farm that you control. We give 600 sq ft of farmland and you get to choose what you wish to grow in that space. We deliver it to your home on a weekly basis or you can come and harvest the produce on your own. Not only do you get fresh andorganic vegetables, but you also get a farming experience. You can sow the seeds on your own too. This is also beneficial for thefarmers as they get a regular income. Also, this improves the fertility of the soil. We do multi cropping due to which micro organisms get back in the soil. In Surat, we started with 10 plots and we got a great response. They were booked quickly. Now, we have 40 more additional plots coming up,” says Daljit Singh, business partner, Farmizen. Community farming offers many benefits to farmers who want to practice sustainable agriculture and to people who want fresh, healthy, locally-produced food.