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Category — India

Dreaded Viper bite for those working the land in India

A Russell’s viper in Pune, India.

Letter describing a bite on the toe

By Venkat Iyer
City Farmers Yahoo Group in India
Aug. 30, 2014

Anyone who lives in a village or works the land will always have the dread of one event. There is always a silent prayer hoping that the dreaded event never happens in ones family or on ones field. Well, for the last ten years at the farm, in-spite of a few close encounters the event had not occurred. On the fateful day of 14th August destiny decided to test us. Yes the dreaded event of a snake bite finally happened at the farm.

Baban and me were cleaning the fence of creepers and other sundry stuff when we decided to take a break for a cup of tea. As we walked back to the house he went a little away to tie the bull to another chikoo tree. Just as I reached the back porch of the house, I heard a painful scream from Baban and the next minute he was running towards the house yelling that something had bitten him. He was sweating profusely and I calmed him down, gave him a glass of water and shooted off towards the chikoo tree to see what had bitten him.

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September 11, 2014   Comments Off

Innovative City Farmer Tastes Success Again in Thiruvananthapuram, India

R Raveendran at his rooftop garden.

He has a cultivated paddy and around 15 varieties of vegetables on his terrace

By Saritha S Balan
The New India Express
30th July 2014


Using the drip irrigation method, he cultivates paddy, chilli, yam, amaranthus, ladies finger, tomato, brinjal, ash gourd, passion fruit, ginger, turmeric, wild turmeric, curry leaf and ‘pudina’ on 1,450 square feet. Raveendran started with the method in 2011 and has now reached a stage of success as he was in other experiments too.

“The produce is more than enough for the use of a family and I do sell the vegetables. For the past three years, I didn’t need to buy rice for Onam for my family. I get 30 kg of paddy from which I can make 15 kg of rice,” he says.

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August 6, 2014   Comments Off

Green thumbs sprout on cityscape in Kozhikode, India

roofindA vegetable garden set up atop a house in Kozhikode. Kozhikode is the third largest city in Kerala. Photo by S. Ramesh Kurup.

“We never grow hybrid varieties as they are likely to perish fast. With locally available seeds, we can nurture a durable vegetable garden on the rooftop.”

By Mithosh Joseph
The Hindu
July 26, 2014


“With just 10 earthen pots, a small family can venture into rooftop cultivation to produce at least seven varieties of vegetables,” says Babu Parambath, a farmer who coordinates the Vengeri-based Niravu Farmers’ Club. Over 25 households in the city are currently experimenting with this low-cost farming technique under the club’s guidance.

The households attached to Niravu Club cultivate okra, tomato, spinach, cowpea, brinjal, bush pepper, and green chilli organically.

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August 1, 2014   Comments Off

India: Policy Paper – Urban and Peri-Urban Agriculture


National Academy of Agricultural Sciences, New Delhi, December 2013

Policy Paper Number 67
12 pages, Dec. 2013



Global population will reach around nine billion by the end of 2050, of which, about 70 per cent shall be urbanized. In India, by 2050, nearly 900 million people will beliving in urban areas. With the expanding urban fringes, more and more rural areas are becoming peri-urban. Given the high population pressure, rising food prices and the socio-economic and environmental stresses, especially in the peri-urban areas, meeting the food, nutrition, health and environmental security in the urban andperi-urban areas will be a serious challenge.

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July 8, 2014   Comments Off

Students develop liking to grow kitchen gardens in Mysore, India


Senior assistant of horticulture M S Raju said that they want to educate people in urban areas on gardening with an emphasis to organic vegetables.

Times of India
June 24, 2014


Growing a kitchen garden has caught the fancy of students, entrepreneurs, homemakers, and children alike in Mysore.

P Nalme, a student who grows mushrooms at her home, said that she is particularly interested in growing organic veggies as “they are good for health”. According to Nalme, awareness must be created among youth, especially students, to take to organic farming. She thanked the horticulture department for organizing a training programme on kitchen gardening in its premises at Kukkarahalli on Sunday.

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July 6, 2014   Comments Off

Schools directed to grow vegetables, fruits in kitchen gardens in Mysore district, India

The idea is not to minimise the expenditure on the meal programme but to develop a healthy ambience in the schools, Ningarajaiah, officer in charge of Akshara Dasoha in Mysore district, has said. Photo by M.A. Sriram.

Soon, vegetables grown in kitchen gardens by children in government schools will be used for cooking food under the mid-day meal programme — Akshara Dasoha — in the State.

By Shankar Bennur
The Hindu
May 29 2014


The Department of Public Instruction (DPI), in its recent circular, has asked school administrations to make use of vacant space available on the school premises to grow vegetables, fruits and leaves as part of the “Maguvigondu Mara, Shalegondu Vana” programme.

Already, many government schools in Mysore district have developed gardens on their campuses and are growing vegetables that are used in cooking meals.

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June 6, 2014   Comments Off

The Indian Kitchen Gardener: It’s always Eden on Lavannya Goradia’s Bangalore terrace


I grow about 35 different vegetables, a few fruits, plants solely for my butterfly friends and lots of herbs.

By Kavya Chandra
The Alternative
May 21, 2014


I was born and brought up in Baroda and came to Bangalore to practice architecture and design. Currently I run a small studio that specialises in contemporary and environmentally friendly architecture in the city.

Gardening came from my love for cooking that draws inspiration from Jamie Oliver, especially the series of Jamie At Home! After shifting into a bigger space I had the freedom of growing many kinds of vegetables and greens and taken full advantage of my terrace. I now look forward everyday now to home-grown, clean organic produce.

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May 24, 2014   Comments Off

Indian actor Salman Khan grows potatoes, pumpkins in his kitchen garden


Khan is an actor, producer, television presenter, and philanthropist.

By Ankur Pathak
Mumbai Mirror
Apr 8, 2014


“Salman has been growing potatoes, tomatoes and pumpkins without using any kind of artificial fertilizers. He proudly feeds his guests dishes cooked with the vegetables grown in his kitchen garden.” The star has turned to gardening as he believes that the vegetables in the market today are laced with chemicals and can trigger serious health problems. Healthy eating is the way to a healthy lifestyle, according to the new and improved Salman Khan. But if you are thinking that the actor intends to make a quick buck out of his fresh produce, then you are mistaken. The veggies are strictly for domestic use.

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April 25, 2014   Comments Off

Dr. B.N. Vishwanath – father of organic urban terrace gardening in India

Dr. Vishwanath says that many of his group members tell him that they don’t know what to do with their produce. It is so much that they even get tired of distributing. Photo by Murali Kumar k.

“It is important to make sustainable communities,” he argues, “importing food is second slavery.”

By Deepa Ganesh
The Hindu
Feb 22, 2014


“During the making of this film, I suddenly remembered our days in Mysore. I would accompany my father to shop vegetables in Saraswatipuram. Small farmers grew vegetables on their land. They gave us a knife and told us to pluck whatever vegetables we needed. My father would chop fresh vegetables of the plant, and the farmer used to look into our bag and tell us how much we had to pay. As I thought of those days, the enormity of change and urbanization dawned upon me. The entomologist who advocated chemical fertilizers gradually began to fade,” he remembers.

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March 3, 2014   Comments Off

1952: Indira Gandhi watches wheat harvest in rear garden of Prime Minister’s residence – India

Photo by James Burke. Apr 1952 LIFE. Click on image for larger version.

Teen Murti Bhavan in Delhi, India – the former residence of the first Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru, who stayed here for 16 years until his death in 1964.

(Must see. Mike)
Excerpt: from Indira Priyadarshini, By Alaka Shankar

In early 1950, when the campaigns of ‘grow more food’ and ‘grow your own vegetables’ were launched, Indira got the front gardens and the back lawns converted into vegetable gardens and wheat fields. She supervised the cultivation. When the harvest time came, she distributed the vegetables and wheat to the servants and their families and to the senior staff and kept some for Teen Murti household.

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January 23, 2014   Comments Off

Bangalore Kitchen Gardener: Anusuya Sharma

Anusuya Sharma in her flourishing medicinal garden.

‘Medicinal plants are all you need for good health’

Kavya Chandra
The Alternative
10 September, 2013


Meet one of India’s most experienced kitchen gardeners – Anusuya Sharma – renowned expert on medicinal plants, author of two books on terrace gardening (‘Tarasi Tota Ondu Inuku Nota’ in 2007 and ‘Hittilu Kaitotakkondu Kaipidi’ in 2010) and winner of the Srishti Sanman award by Honey Bee’s Network National Innovation Foundation.

I am 70 years old and rarely fall sick. My garden is responsible for this and I am very grateful.”

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January 17, 2014   Comments Off

Awareness about our biodiversity should start in home gardens

E.Gopalakrishnan with his wife G.Rani show some of the plants in their backyard that can provide a lifetime of medicinal and nutritional
value. Photo: M. Moorthy.

Gopalakrishnan and his wife Rani run the Sevai Children Trust, that motivates youngsters to adopt a more healthy
and natural lifestyle.

By Nahla Nainar
The Hindu
Jan 3, 2014


The backyard in his Srinivasa Nagar home doubles as a test plot for various plant specimens with proven medicinal qualities, and highlights the natural wealth that we seem to be rather tragically dismissive about.

“You may have seen colourful advertisements on TV about costly shampoos that use oils from Amazon forest herbs to combat hair loss. But our Siddha practitioners had already told us about palai keerai, which can regenerate hair growth. Sadly the palai keerai has now been termed as endangered by the central government.

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January 12, 2014   Comments Off

India: Hyderabad, Chennai, Delhi and Mumbai have active groups of urban farmers


To combat increasing levels of pesticides in foods, terrace gardens across India are blooming

By Gargi Gupta
Dec 29, 2013


Aparna George, a Bangalore-based freelance writer, grows strawberries in pots in a corner of her terrace, along with other vegetables like zucchini, lavender, carrots, beans, brinjals, cauliflower, cabbage, and palak, methi, coriander, rosemary, thyme and parsley.

George’s tryst with growing vegetables started, she reveals, around four years ago with the realisation that there are very high levels of pesticide residue in food. She began with a few pots of brinjals and tomatoes, using the organic manure she got by composting kitchen waste at home.

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January 4, 2014   Comments Off

India: ‘With my pipe garden I grow up to 22 vegetables on 1 sq ft’


Bangalore gardener says the main challenge I faced was the monkey attacks on my crops.

By Vinay Magadi
The Alternative
Nov 26, 2013
I am a native of bangalore. I was an avid gardener from childhood. I graduated from Christ College, Bangalore (now Christ University) with botany and zoology as my subjects. I love to experiment and have taken to experimenting with various gardening techniques. The pipe garden has been the culmination of my 4 years of experimentation.


In my childhood, we had a huge garden and all that we wanted, we grew in the garden. I had to shift to terrace gardening due to lack of space in our current residence.

I have grown a wide variety of vegetables like Maize, Kidney beans, ChowChow, Bush beans, Purple beans, Tomatoes, Cherry tomatoes, brinjals of different varieties, various greens, amorphophallus, Okra etc., in the terrace successfully.

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December 19, 2013   Comments Off

The New York Times ‘Image of the Day’ November 28


Women working in a cauliflower field in Kolkata, West Bengal. Photo by Rupak De Chowdhuri/Reuters

Comment by Debasish Chatterjee
Calcutta, India

With vanishing greenery around the congested city of Calcutta the cultivation of Cauliflower around Eastern Bye Pass and New Town makes a wonderful difference.Amidst the concrete skyscrapers in the background the picture of the ladies working in the Cauliflower field presents a heartening picture.

December 6, 2013   Comments Off