Urban Farming: Fad or Futureproof?

Abhishek Mazumdar

March 29th, 2016

Image Courtesy: The Logical Indian

Julius Rego is an urban farmer. He’s the founder of Green Souls that has the aim to address urban environmental, health and community issues by practising sustainable urban farming. Currently, they have 4 organic community farms that provides access to healthy food and nature therapy to underprivileged children. The group also helps individuals and organisations to set up their own kitchen and terrace gardens. He shared his experience to us in an exclusive interview:

What is urban farming?
Urban farming is doing agriculture in a city. In the city, the condition and environment is different – here you have closed spaces. You can do farming on terrace, or in balcony, on a wall and we have to do with what we have.

You can grow anything in your home through urban farming.

What are the challenges?
In a city, you can’t get red mud or soil, but we can take the organic waste of the city and make it into manure, commonly known as compost, and that becomes the soil. There are lot of challenges – there is pollution, lack of water, less sunlight but we have to adapt with whatever is available and do our farming.

How can one create compost in an urban setting?
It’s easy to create your own compost. Just layer organic materials – garden clippings, dry leaves, kitchen vegetable scraps, shredded paper and a dash of soil to create a concoction that turns into humus, the best soil builder around. Basically, all the kitchen waste can be converted into compost. There are hundreds of Websites on the internet that can teach you create compost in your home.

What solutions can urban farming offer?
In today’s time. What we get in name of modern farming is actually chemical farming. There’s poison in the yield and the nutrition value is quite less. We’re what we eat, and the food that we get through modern farming is not good and root of many diseases like cancer, diabetes etc. Hence, urban farming can assure you good food because you can see what you grow.

There is a big problem of waste management. Mumbai alone creates around 10,000 tonnes kg waste every day. How to handle this? Where will it all go? In fact, most of it can be used to create compost for your vegetable or flower garden.

Pollution levels can be reduced. We usually burn the garbage; especially leaves but if we compost this, it will come into good use and curb pollution to an extent. If we grow our own vegetable, we can also reduce carbon footprints by saving on the travel of these vegetables. In short, consider these points:

  • It’s more productive.
  • It’s more sustainable.
  • Organic produce becomes more accessible.
  • It’s small space friendly.
  • It enables you to enjoy fresh produce all-year-round.
  • It’s simple.

Is there any limitation?
There is only one limitation – space but that can be managed. You can do urban farming in whatever space is available. The main parameters are: technique and sunlight.

What is the importance or relevance?
Whatever you’re today is because of your good health. A healthy body will have a healthy mind, and if you want a healthy body, you’ve to eat healthy food. That is a very big problem – you don’t know where your food is coming from. Unless, you’re sure you’re having good nutrition, you can’t do many things in life.

What you eat should be your medicine.

The Logical Indian team salutes the spirit of this urban farmer. You may require a lawyer few times in a lifetime, you may require a priest few times in a year but you require a farmer at least 3 times in day – for your food. Let us all be thankful to the efforts of the farmers who bring us our food.

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