Bengalureans turn urban farmers to reconnect with nature

International Earth Day today

Bengalureans turn urban farmers to reconnect with nature

Harshavardhan Shitole, an IT professional, spends his weekends growing vegetables in a community farm in Bengaluru. He is one of the many ‘urban farmers’ who are trying to reconnect with nature.

He is part of a group of 25 people from different parts of the city who visit a five-acre farm in Bannerghatta to grow fruits and vegetables using natural methods of farming. The group has leased the farm in southern Bangalore where its members grow vegetables using zero-budget natural farming methods that include cow urine and cow dung as fertilisers and neem oil as natural pesticide. “We get over 25 kg of produce every week and share it among ourselves,” Shitole said. “We also do rainwater harvesting as part of farming.”

Sandeep Anirudhan, urban farmer and entrepreneur, has also embraced the farming life. He joins his neighbours and friends to grow more than 30 varieties of vegetables and fruits on a half-acre plot where he has also planted many trees.

“I have always wanted to create a community of urban farmers. We have lost our connect with the soil and are exploiting it by using a range of fertilisers and other chemicals which are harming the environment and resulting in poor productivity for farmers. Our community farming is an effort to revive our lost relationship with nature by using environment-friendly farming methods,” said Anirudhan who has a community farm in Whitefield.

The group’s members are aged six to 60. The community farm has resulted in a greener neighbourhood and healthier environment. It gives us great satisfaction to consume what we produce,” he added.
Anirudhan has also initiated Aikyam, a volunteer-driven community for sharing healthy sustainability practices.

Every Sunday, Balaji Tadepalli, another IT professional, joins a group from his residential gated community (Rainbow Drive on Sarjapur Road) to plant saplings on empty plots of land.

“We use drip irrigation and kitchen composting to sustain plantation. We exchange various varieties of seeds and methods to enhance farming,” he said. “We started this initiative last October and have more people joining us every week. We use empty coconut shells to plant the seeds on empty plots,” Tadepalli said.
 

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