What is Urban Farming?

Shilpi Shukla
July 20, 2021

What we eat and where it comes from are very important to each of us, and we know these are things many of us value heavily as well. As much as we'd love to grow our own garden, we are not very good at keeping things alive and thriving. We are in talks with Lakshmi Battula, consultant with Sthiranya Ecoscapes, who is an expert in Sustainable Farming. She was also instrumental in training farmers to adopt natural farming over conventional farming techniques and educating young learners on essence of farming.

How has your journey of Urban Farming been so far?

It’s been quite a ride. From working in a corporate to trying to becoming a farmer has taught me to be grateful to nature, the farmers who grow food and to the food we eat. 

Growing food naturally itself is a huge task because it requires hard labor to achieve results most of the time. Training farmers and convincing them to adapt these practices is another tough task. 

What changed from when we started to now is the acceptance levels amongst farmers to adapt natural farming practices. They are starting to understand the benefits of organic farming to themselves and to the society alike.

Tell us something about Sthiranya?

Sthiranya is a Farmscape consultancy firm that

- Consults: helps urban dwellers start their own organic farm

- Trains: provide training to farmers in organic farming

- Employs: provides employment in farms to those in search of a livelihood

- Educates: teaches school children about the importance of farming

Is urban farming on the rise? Has it become easier for city dwellers?

Urban farming is definitely on a rise. Yes, there are several organic brands in the market which promise to be authentic, but can we trust them all? Unless we know the source of where the food we eat comes from, there’s no guarantee of its authenticity. Urban dwellers understand this well and have taken farming into their own hands. This is the future of farming. 

With number of farmers on the decline, everyone needs to become a farmer to sustain themselves going forward. 

As many city dwellers live in apartments, how are they growing food?

Anywhere there’s little sunlight be it in their balcony, terrace or even on a windowsill. 

What do you suggest most city dwellers to grow, that can be maintained well?

In my opinion, the healthiest food for a body and the easiest ones to grow are leafy vegetables. They don’t take much space or time as the other vegetables. You just need a 4-inch deep container. Even an old coffee mug can be used to grow the greens.

What types of problems do usually people face in the initial stage of farming at backyard of their home/balcony of their apartment?

Most common problems while maintaining a garden are-

- drying up of leaves

- Flower drop 

- Drying up of plants

Most or all of these happen mostly due to excessive watering and or a bad seed.

Would urban help reduce a city’s carbon footprint?

Absolutely. Food miles could be reduced a lot by growing our own food in our houses

What is your advice on irrigation system?

Irrigation system for a kitchen garden is very important. Knowing how much and when to water solves a majority garden problems.

What are the natural pest control measures you suggest?

Few solutions that can be prepared at home-

- Ginger Garlic chilli/clove solution can be used for all plants

- Dried Ginger solution & Dried Turmeric solution for gourds 

- Garbage enzyme for fertility

Some interesting facts about Urban Farming

You can grow everything and anything in your balcony from vegetables to fruits;

- It’s easier to grow in a balcony than on a farm.

- Because of the diversity you will have in your small garden, there will be a natural pest control that gets established.

- Grow what you consume most.

- Always make your own seed.

- Gardening is like meditation. Once you start doing it, you won’t stop. It gives a sense of calmness to you mind and body.

- The way one gardens may not hold good for another. Find your vibe and start there. 

- Plants can understand your emotion towards them so be gentle and let the magic unfold.

Interested to know more and eager to get started with your own garden?

Visit: https://www.organoetschool.co.in/registration

For more queries mail us at oes@organo.co.in.

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