Our IT city looks exactly like a mother board from air. Much more now that there is hardly any space left between high rise apartments coming up in every nook and corner as well as in areas which were forests earlier. According to an article published last year around 1.2 crore houses are lying vacant across urban India and Bangalore has 84000 vacant units by a survey in second quarter of 2015
Reason is due to need and availability in different sections of society. Economically weaker sections are in need of a shelter where all these high rise buildings are meant for higher income strata. So more and more units are being built for people who want to invest solely for tax savings and wait. With rental yields not high enough to compensate the risks involved in using it on rental people decide to let it sit empty.
Few weeks back there was an article about how our metro generation is investing in second weekend homes to de-stress. Article highlighted the positives of having a place like that and that it’s very much needed. I am ashamed to say that one of the family mentioned there is my classmate’s one.
This is one of the biggest sin against humanity and environment both. Holding on to a resource which neither helps the owner nor others. When a piece of land is considered the best investment then why not have a piece of land which can sustain one’s family for darkest times with clean healthy food rather sit idle or used once in week.
This has led to urban mini farms – where one can lease or buy a small piece of land to grow one’s own supply of fresh organic vegetables and fruits. This concept involves having a community of urban working class people sharing land pieces and having common caretakers/guards to look after the land while owners till/ harvest on weekends or holidays. With pesticide laden food in markets and cost of so-called organic produce unsustainable this idea is slowly picking up. Not in India but all across the world using locally grown produce is gaining popularity as people are increasingly getting aware of the benefits of consuming fresher and palatable food, which is packed with nutrients.
Had been to a party last week to one such persons home and tasted the fresh produce from his patch of land. They tasted so very different making us more and more aware of what dangerous food we have every day.
In an urban environment like Bangalore, where a majority of people live in small homes or apartments that have hardly a space for the pot of scared tulsi a kitchen garden is just not possible.
Other than providing fresh food this weekly once activity has some amazing benefits. Gardening is a known stress reliever and weight loss helper. Just like meditation it clears the mind and rejunuvates one for the coming week. Inculcates a good habit of getting ready early on Sundays and not laze around.
Meeting fellow patch owners and exchanging views on farming, bartering produces, takes one out of their small self-centred existence and become socially more productive.
Encourages people to compost at home for their patches leading to automatic waste segregation. .
In addition to providing fresh produce, these mini farms also give families a way to connect with the nature and enjoy the pleasure of simplistic living. Many of the ‘urban farmers’ also bring their children to the farm. Kids learn where the food comes and how much effort goes into it. They learn not to waste and the complete plant life cycle.
One such Urban Mini Farm on the outskirts Bangalore ,about which many articles had come up in media, is Green thumb Mini Farms which now a days doesn’t respond to calls and enquiries. Hopefully they have not given up on the concept. There are others which are not mentioned in media but are thriving in areas where there is less water problem. In fact people who have purchased a plot and are not building homes in the near future should also promote such faming on their land. I am trying to get one such farm on lease for sometime now. Hopefully in the near future I will be writing about my organic farm. Till then my tiny kitchen garden is helping in my green efforts.