The green thumb

The green thumb

Organic lifestyle is no longer a modern fad if the rising numbers of pro-organic believers are anything to go by. While some may still sniff an austerity aroma here and there, organic food is surely making its way into the pantry of many households, the heftier price tag notwithstanding.

Motivated by health benefits, taste and environmental concerns, a young tribe -- those consuming and growing organic food -- has been emerging. They are not just finding satisfaction in their home-grown products but inspiring others to follow suit.

 "The conscious lot is going for it although it is more expensive than conventional food," says Nandita Iyer, a food writer.

"Most supermarkets now have a big organic section which means they are catering to a larger section. The more acceptance there is for this kind of food, the chances of its prices coming down are more."

 Nandita consumes organically grown rice, 'dal', banana and millets on a daily basis. "There was an organic fair organised by the KSDA some time back and I had purchased 10 to 15 kilos of millets. I am still using them. It was much cheaper than what you usually get at supermarkets for," she informs.

"I also stock up from farmers' markets because you know the source," she adds.

 The good thing about having an organic garden of your own is that it does not mean having deep pockets. Besides, who wants to swallow the residues of pesticides that are found in, at least, some non-organic food?

Nithin Sagi and Hamsa V, co-founders of 'Growing Greens', grow a range of micro greens for fine dine restaurants, expats and sometimes, individuals.

"In general, when it comes to consumption of organic food, I would say that is where one should definitely head towards. This is clearly the only way out," he says.

"As far as our microgreens are concerned, we mainly promote B2B. There is good acceptance there. There are a lot of chefs who use it for their plating designs. These are gaining popularity, and has great health benefits. At our farm, we grow salad leaves, arugula bulbs, baby spinach, kale etc," he informs.

"We also experiment with natural farming. It could be either 'ragi' or just any other vegetable. We use these on a daily basis and whatever is excess, we sell it to apartments closeby," adds Hamsa.

Nandita too has a kitchen garden in which she grows salad greens, lettuce, Malabar tomatoes and the like.

"These are easy to grow. Our weather is very conducive to all kinds of plants, so anybody can grow them and it can be on even on your windowsill or your balcony," she says.

Saswati Behera, a mechanical engineer by profession and a organic gardener by passion, has a small 'green patch' at home, which is her kitchen garden. "If a person starts following an organic lifestyle, the world around will also be inspired," she says.

"I was inspired to follow my mum's footpath, she used to do organic gardening by using kitchen waste. So I emulated her when I shifted here three to four years ago. It is each person's choice what lifestyle to follow, but it is always good to go with the organic way," she says.

"I use my kitchen compost for organic waste. The compost is for the soil to be fertile. The vegetables are grown in such a manner are always in harmony with nature. As for the rice and lentils, I order them online from organic stores," she says.

As more and more home spaces are opening up to organic gardening and shelf spaces being allotted to organic food products, one is not just nourishing the platter but the planet as well.

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