The LILA Terra-Sutra Green Fingers Combo workshop on Urban Farming and Composting organized in collaboration with Edible Routes at Lotus Farm, Kadarpur was a marvelous experience to all who participated. The workshop began at 8.30 am on July 24 (Sunday), with an interactive session led by Kapil Mandawewala of Edible Routes. The participants shared their thoughts on how important it is to grow one’s own food in these times. Everyone expressed their concern about the way fruits and vegetables are made toxic through the use of chemicals at various levels. There was a general agreement that we have to cultivate a greater consciousness about the significance of growing one’s own food. This was followed by Kapil’s presentation with the help of slides to show how soil, an inert medium, produces life. He showed the processes of creating a kitchen garden in urban spaces, and related his own experience of leaving a well paid job in the US to begin organic farming in his home state, eventually setting up his company Sajeev Fresh, which is now Edible Routes.
The first session was followed by a shared lunch, which was a joy! Afternoon session was led by Karan from Edible Routes, who briefed the participants on the different families of seeds, and demonstrated how in a small area different seeds can be sown without affecting each other’s growth.
When Karan stepped out to demonstrate the making of the potting mix, the rain came through—and that was ideal, for the participants used pure rain water to water their first sapling and seed, now potted, and ready to take home. The participants learnt how to plan and run a kitchen garden through hands-on work in the field. The lessons also included gardening tools, seeding and spacing, timing of planting, companion planting, fertilizing, weed control etc.
This was followed by Keshav Chander Jaini’s brilliant exposition on the need to manage waste, and how to compost at a small scale. He showed how to segregate waste, and how we can reuse most of our kitchen waste to feed our kitchen garden. He covered the basics of aerobic and anaerobic composting, composting at home – how to make it easy and odorless, leaf composting and mulching, and using homemade compost.
This was followed by a farm tour of Priya and Ravish Mehra’s Lotus Farm—looking at its fruit trees, veggie patches, vermicompost unit, and the incredible lotus pond with blue lotuses. Indeed , this was a workshop in Life Appreciation!