Food from your backyard

Food from your backyard

There are a lot of people in the City who have been passionately growing and consuming organic food. Even a small patch of space is being used to grow vegetables.

Organically-grown food and food products appear to be the latest fad among those who are used to a fast, consumerist lifestyle. What matters is not just how fresh vegetables are, but also where they come from and what kind of nutrients and pesticides they have absorbed. Consumption of organically-grown food is a healthy and an environmentally sustainable option, says Beena MS, who grew up watching her mother grow vegetables in their backyard.

“When I took a break from my job, I found enough time to pursue my passion for gardening and organic farming. I set up a small space on our terrace and started growing tomatoes, beans, pudina and some leafy green vegetables. It’s a healthier option than buying fruits and vegetables from outside. At least we know what we grow is free of pesticides and other harmful substances,” explains Beena.

She also makes the compost at home using vegetable peels and earthworms which she later mixes into the mud on a daily basis.    

Advocates of organic farming encourage vegetable growers to maintain a “positive philosophy” and predict that organic framing is the way forward. Ambrose, who has been into organic farming for more than a decade, says the ecological value attracted him to take it up seriously.

“The use of organic manure, plant-based material that revitalises crops, helps improve soil fertility, which in turn nourishes fruits and vegetables grown on it. The fact that fertilisers and pesticides are not used helps the growth of such produce,” explains Ambrose.

The increasing costs and excess use of harmful chemicals in growing vegetables, feels Ambrose, will prompt people to mark out spaces in their homes to start growing organic produce. “Even a small quantity is enough,” he adds.

Azma Khan, a housewife and resident of Cox Town, has also taken to growing organic vegetables. “We are largely non-vegetarians but small things like chilli, tomatoes, pudina are useful and I love gardening,” says Azma. She says she has seen vegetable vendors washing vegetables in sewage water during wee hours of the morning before packing them off to the market.

“This sight left me pretty shocked and that’s when I decided to start something small just to make a beginning,” she adds.

Both Sivadasan K and his wife Jayashree hold regular jobs but they have found the time for growing vegetables on their terrace. “It was an urge to consume what we grow that prompted my wife and me to grow vegetables a few months ago,” explains Sivadasan. Jayashree, a teacher, states that initially they sought the help of a gardener but soon they started tending to the plants themselves.

“We have managed to grow capsicum, cabbage, bittergourd, snake gourd, turnip and carrot as well. We used to buy organic compost but now we have started making it ourselves,” concludes Jayashree.  

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