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Setting up organic kitchen gardens in Pune

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  • Thiagarajan
    From: Nemani Chandrasekhar Date: Nov 27, 2:50 pm Subject: Setting up organic kitchen gardens in Pune To: APEC *Setting up
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 1, 2011
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      From: Nemani Chandrasekhar <chandrasekharnem...@...>
      Date: Nov 27, 2:50 pm
      Subject: Setting up organic kitchen gardens in Pune
      To: APEC

      *Setting up organic kitchen gardens in Pune*
      Published: Sunday, Nov 27, 2011, 13:15 IST
      By Navjyoti Dalal | Place: Pune | Agency:

      IT professional Animesh Topno with his daughter at the kitchen garden on
      his terrace. The garden is a fine balance of flowers and seasonal veggies

      The terrace at Animesh Topno's house used to serve as a place to dry
      clothes, until he came across a presentation on organic kitchen gardening.
      The area is now home to spinach, broccoli, methi (fenugreek leaves),
      tomato, basil, beetroot, cucumber, carrot, radish, onion and other veggies.
      Topno, a project manager in an IT firm, is the latest convert to the
      current trend of organic kitchen gardening, in the city. With reports of
      existence of pesticides in fruits, vegetables and food items becoming a
      regular feature in newspapers and magazines, many, like Topno, are turning
      to get their hands dirty and are setting up their own organic kitchen

      A kitchen garden is not a new concept for Punekars, with many of them
      growing up in big houses with a tree of chikoo, custard apple, guava, and
      harvesting seasonal veggies and herbs.

      However, what's new is the drive to go organic. Simply put, organic produce
      translates into no harm to the plant, soil or the environment. The
      followers of the organic sect do not use any chemical fertiliser or
      pesticide. Armed with neem oil pesticide, gobar khaad (cow dung manure),
      and vermicompost the environment-friendly brigade, which includes CEOs of
      companies and housewives alike, is growing stronger in the city.

      *Why they switch*

      For most it's the pesticides that are found in vegetables in the market,
      for others it's the ever rising prices of vegetables and fruits, which
      leads them to become organic kitchen gardeners. Topno, however, wanted to
      use the space on his terrace. "I have a bungalow. While on the ground floor
      garden I have planted flowers, I wanted to use the terrace for gardening
      too," says the NIBM resident who started with common herbs like coriander
      which `one usually runs out of'.

      Owner of a big outdoor space (2,000 sq ft), Shrikant Pittie, wanted to
      utilise the slope area of his house on the river bank in Koregaon Park.
      "It's hard to get good quality produce at the market. Whatever is available
      is laced with pesticides and chemicals. Thus the move to go organic," says
      Pittie, CEO and president of Solar Energie Technik Ltd.

      For Anupama Patil, a Kothrud resident, it was her daughter who got the
      kitchen garden installed on their terrace. "My daughter is very
      environmentally conscious. She keeps updating herself with new ways to be
      eco-friendly. While researching once, she came to know about organic
      produce and its benefits," says Patil, who believes if one wants to eat
      organic, one might as well grow one's own. Today, her 1,500 sq ft garden
      features vegetables like spinach, okra, potato, coriander and more. Happy
      with the results, Patil now intends to turn her farmhouse in Peacock Bay
      into an organic farming area.

      Anil Sohoni, a building contractor, has a long association with home-grown
      produce. The sexagenarian has been gardening and harvesting brinjals,
      coconut, mango, gourds, beans, chikoo and other fruits and veggies since
      1980. "The body that the plant/tree receives from organic farming is
      tremendous. And that translates into the taste of the produce," says
      Sohoni, who also makes his own manure through a vermicompost unit.

      *The benefits of organic farming*

      Apart from the obvious reason that organic produce means no pesticides or
      chemicals, what draws some to organic gardening is that the produce is
      richer in nutrients. Vaibhav Dugar, co-founder of Ek Titli, an organisation
      which helps farmers and city residents set up organic kitchen gardens in
      their houses or farms, says, "It has been proven that the nutrient and
      mineral content in organic produce is up to 400% higher. Another major
      reason to go organic is the fatality of pesticides. Of all the pesticide
      that is sprayed, only 1% reaches the target pest, the rest goes into the
      food chain. That's reason enough to go organic." He also adds that the
      pesticides harm not only the pest but also humans and the ecosystem (birds
      and bees) at large.

      Many studies support the concept of organic produce being more nutritious,
      richer in vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids than non-organic
      foods. More nutrition would mean better health and immunity. But what
      stands out is the taste. "There is a remarkable difference in the taste of
      organic vegetables vis-a-vis non-organic ones," says Patil adding "Also you
      are sure of what is going inside your system." On a lighter note she says,
      "It has also attracted a lot of visitors. Many of my daughters' friends
      come home to see and water the garden."

      Topno recounts the first time he harvested spinach from his kitchen garden,
      "I can't forget that fragrance. It was so fresh and different. And
      naturally so, the taste too was very rich," says Topno who finds the
      process of sowing-nurturing-harvesting an extremely rewarding and

      Rajanish Joshi, an IT professional, vouches for organic vegetables. "It is
      easy to grow, it promotes a healthier environment and the taste is way
      better than commercial veggies," says Joshi who has turned his 20X8 ft
      balcony into a small garden. He, however, has no complaints, "Space is a
      constraint, but I am extremely content with what I am doing."

      Courtesy Source: APENVCONNECT
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