Showcasing myriad ways of urban farming

Last Updated 27 October 2013, 18:47 IST

Glimpses of shrinking landscapes and fading lush green fields are the mental images that crop up when one thinks of the future of agriculture.

Concern about food security immediately follows. Striking a balance between urbanisation and conservation of ecology is evidently not an easy task.

However, it is not impossible if smart space management is practiced as the Urban Krishi Mela set out to demonstrate. The two-day mela at Gandhi Krishi Vignan Kendra (GKVK), University of Agricultural Sciences (UAS), Bangalore, that was flagged off on Sunday had nearly 120 stalls that aimed to create awareness about community farming, kitchen farming, rooftop cultivation, soilless culture, water management and biowaste management.

To encourage small-scale cultivation, the UAS had on sale a tray of 50 saplings consisting of six vegetables (tomato, brinjal, pumpkin etc) that could be grown in the backyard. Useful tips on managing space while growing these, were also provided.

A cardboard display of an eco-friendly home with orchids framed around the door, kitchen farm, portico covered with grass and pots adorning the interior walls, provided a demo on the best possible incorporation of plants in a limited space. Visitors got a glimpse of the numerous varieties of medicinal plants, ornamental plants and vegetables that could be grown in the backyard with minimum resources. Not just this, beekeeping and other skills in apiculture, cocoon art, production from agro waste were among the other stalls at the mela that gave out tips on adopting an eco-friendly lifestyle.

For some senior citizens, it was a trip down the memory lane as they remembered the farms in their villages on seeing the wide range of crops and seeds on display at the exhibition.

Even as the youngsters marvelled at the multiple possibilities for kitchen farming on display at the venue, the seniors narrated them how the same was done in their villages years ago.

For others, who did not have much exposure to the techniques of cultivation, the exhibition was a source of abundant information. Vasantha, one of the visitors at the venue had picked up a dozen pots, several seeds and saplings with an eagerness to start her kitchen farm.

Speaking to Deccan Herald, she said, “After retirement, my husband and I are alone at home and this would give us something to occupy ourselves with. Growing plants is just like nurturing children. It gives me immense joy. I cannot wait to go and plant the saplings that I bought.”

Another senior citizen who was at the venue was Vatsala. She found the prices a bit high but yet purchased some seeds as she was keen on growing vegetables in her house.

“The initial cost will be a bit high. However, since we are not looking at commercialising it and are cultivating it for our own use, we can make it viable. Of course, we will still have to buy vegetable outside. But, this would be one step towards ensuring safe food,” she said. The Krishi Mela attracted a crowd of youngsters too. Herbs such as rosemary and lemongrass lending a gentle flavour to tea were a rage among visitors. Crafts made from recycled material and products from agrowaste also drew a large crowd. Children got a taste of healthy snacking with rice bran muffins and organic savouries. The mela will be open to public on Monday too.

(Published 27 October 2013, 18:47 IST)

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