Kitchen gardens sprouting peace of mind, e-businesses

Kitchen gardens sprouting peace of mind, e-businesses

Green Fingers

Be it inflation or the risk of consuming pesticide-laden vegetables, urbanites are majorly taking to farming in their apartments and the kitchen gardens are sprouting not only peace of mind but also e-businesses.

The phenomenon reminds one of the bygone era of a spice garden in the backyard of a bungalow or grandmother’s vegetable farming hobby. Today, it is conducted in the balconies, verandas and terraces of apartments.

“The kitchen garden concept is fast catching up today, more so for want of more organic-grown vegetables in our own pots and pans. More and more groups are forming on Facebook and keeping the members motivated,” Pragnya A. Nair, proprietor of niche website, told IANS.

“Most of the government nurseries are gearing up for the requirements of seedlings and plants for kitchen gardens,” Nair said.

So popular has the concept become that even e-retailing giant Amazon has jumped into the fray while a dozen other niche online retailers have come up to cater to the needs of this segment.

“Not just Amazon, many portals have started selling seeds and plants and it is expected to increase. Trees of all kinds are sold online. 

Sizes range from small pots containing a tree sapling to even seven-to-eight footers,” said Bangalore-based Manikandan Pattabiraman, entrepreneur and blogger at

He said that even equipment like trowels, secateurs, fork hoes, khurpas, flat weeders, grass trimmers, lawn mowers, hand rakes, brush cutters and chain saws, as well as pots, containers and planters are sold online.

Not to be left behind, even micro-irrigation equipment is made available through many websites.

There is a wide range of seeds, from vegetables to rare African orchids starting from Rs 50 and going up to Rs 1,500 per pack depending upon herbal, natural or hybrid varieties (excluding delivery charges).

Samir Kumar, director of category management at Amazon India, said that the e-retail giant's lawn and garden category which was launched in March 2014 has seen a month-on-month increase in sales of about 25 per cent.

“Live plants are one of our fastest moving product categories. There is an increasing trend of customers maintaining a small balcony garden and use the kitchen balcony as a home herb and vegetable garden,” Samir Kumar told IANS.

However, can the rise in hobby or serious home farming be a sustainable business model for these booming e-businesses? ‘Yes!’ says Gaurav Gupta, senior director, Deloitte in India.

“Its all a demand and supply matrix. If there is a demand then the first to take the opportunity of servicing that demand will be the e-commerce platforms as it is cheap with no over head costs and direct business model.”

 It is also the most practical way to provide customised solutions or products for their clientele what ever there need be in this case accessories or other material for a kitchen garden.

No matter how much the euphoria around the freedom of growing one’s own vegetables or herbs increase, is this sustainable in the long-term to tackle issues like food security?

“There are articles which suggest that up until the 1940s a significant amount of food was grown in cities. Urban spaces, despite the limited space availability if captured and used to grow food – particularly fruits and vegetables can undoubtedly impact both food and nutritional security in a positive manner,” said Greenpeace India campaigner Shivani Shah. 

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