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India: Terrace garden to farming: Urban dwellers show the organic way

Their owners– mostly professionals from Gurgaon– are toiling in the field they have taken on lease for community organic farming. Some are weeding, some sowing seeds, and others are plucking vegetables(Burhaan Kinu/HT PHOTO)

An increasing number of professionals in Delhi and NCR are now renting agricultural land for organic farming.

By Manoj Sharma
Hindustan Times
Feb 17, 2018


Urban farming, says Prof. Anirudh Garg of Institute of Urban Farming and Sustainability, is likely to take the form of a social movement in the coming years. “It is the need of our expanding cities. I firmly believe Indian cities can grow their own vegetables.

Gurgaon’s Green Leaf India community was born when the district horticulture officer, Deen Mohammad Khan, was invited to speak on terrace gardening in a residents’ conclave. “Many in the audience said they had no terraces, and the balconies were too small to grow anything and asked if we could help them lease farmland near Gurgaon. I said I could try,” says Khan.

Over the next few days, Khan would travel to many villages neighbouring Gurgaon, trying to convince farmers to rent out their land to these professionals. The farmers were initially wary — after all, they had been used to giving their land on ‘batai’ (sharing) to mostly landless farmers from UP and Bihar, and not to city professionals wearing Apple watches. But Khan eventually managed to convince four farmers.

“We got seven acres of land, but there were more people wanting to lease than we could accommodate. Sixty families immediately signed up,” says Khan. The unique urban farming community comprising IT professionals, doctors and lawyers connect on a WhatsApp group, discussing everything from how to make manure to sowing seeds.

Read the complete article here.