Hundreds of green enthusiasts at ‘Oota from your thota’

One of the visitors at ‘Oota from your Thota’, Jeffrey Bakthakumar, 42, brought lettuce, capsicum and tarragon saplings at the event to add to his garden that grows in his four balconies at his apartment near Silk Board.

Jeffrey Bhaktakumar, hopes his sons take up gardening too. Pic: Yogaraj S Mudalgi

A garden enthusiast since his childhood, he brought his two sons to introduce them to the world of gardening. "I love greenery and try my best to grow a garden at home. I hope my sons take it up too," he said.

The AICOBOO ground in BTM Layout, behind Advaita petrol bunk, was bustling with gardening enthusiasts as more than 500 of them visited ‘Oota from your Thota’ on Sunday, 28th August.

It was a festive atmosphere as hundreds of visitors checked out different stalls at the event. Pic: Yogaraj S Mudalgi

The scene resembled a mela, a laidback one at that, as people strolled around buying organic vegetables and seeds from stalls, listening to the open sessions on gardening topics and clarifying their doubts from more experienced gardeners.  Garden engthusiasts found seeds, saplings, garden tools and educational books and CDs to help them start their home gardens. The foodies made beeline to the food stalls that sold food made from organic ingredients.

The event was organised by Garden City Farmers Trust, Bangalore (GCFT).  Zed Habitats, part of Bio-diversity Conservation India Limited (BCIL), a city based company that constructs green building projects, sponsored the event. Citizen Matters suported the event as a media partner. The event which went on from 10 am to 2 pm, aimed to promote organic kitchen gardening in one’s own homes.

The food stall was a big draw as people made way to taste snacks made from organic ingredients. Pic: Yogaraj S Mudalgi

Stressing on the importance of organic gardening, Dr B N Vishwanath, a former UAS Professor, organic terrace gardening evangelist and a founder-trustee of GCFT, said that it was important to grow a small terrace garden to get fresh, organic vegetables. "Toxicity of chemicals in vegetables is going up as vegetables are increasingly being grown in sewage waters. With a terrace garden, we can ensure that we can get organic vegetables for our own consumption," he said.

Twenty stalls sold organic produce and eco-friendly products at the event. Organically grown vegetables, seeds, and vegetable and medicinal plant saplings, garden decor and accessories like pots were some of the products on sale.

Association For Promotion Of Organic Farming (APOF) sold educational books on organic gardening. Ojas Nisarga, a company selling eco-friendly products had some innovative wares on display, one of which was the earthen refrigerator. A food stall set up by In the Pink, a BTM based organic bazaar and restaurant, was popular with visitors as they gorged on snacks like Bhel Puri, Pani Puri and Dhokla.

Children learn to sketch. Pic: Meera K

Students of B M English School, in Hennur, had set up a stall sold brinjals and harvested seeds of vegetables grown in their school. The school uses the spare land of 2.5 acres on their campus to set up a garden. Students of eighth and ninth standard maintain the garden and after harvest buy the produce. "We grow vegetables like tomato, brinjal, chillies, carrots, ladies finger, different kind of gourds at our garden. We could not bring more vegetables today as the harvest season was already over," said Pragathi, a ninth standard student.

One of the visitors (right) interacting with B N Vishwanath (left), Dr B N Vishwanath, pioneer in terrace gardening. Pic: Yogaraj S Mudalgi

M Venugopal, 63, a retired banker living nearby said that it was dream to grow his own vegetable after retirement. "This event is an excellent platform to get started on that. I was especially impressed by saplings being sold at such affordable rates."

Mridula Gettu, 46 who had come with her friend, from Richmond Town, said that although the event was a nice concept, she would have liked to see more products on sale. "We thought we would get everything needed for starting our own garden. We were keen to start it today." said Mridula who deals in high-end water fixtures for gardens. Mridula could not get the quantities of cocoa peat  (a soil additive) she was looking for.

Many of the vendors sold out all their items on sale, as they had not expected so many visitors. Janodaya Trust, an NGO, which sold organic vegetables and pulses, had brought 50 -60 kilos of produce. By noon, they were left with 20 kilos and at the end of the event had sold all that they brought. Sukanya Aradhya, marketing co-ordinator of Janodaya said, "We were definitely not expecting this kind of turnout. We could not meet the demand."

K S Venkatesh Rao, owner of Varsha Enterprises was elated at the turnout, "the response from the crowd is overwhelming as many people were interested in having a terrace garden. I am impressed to see that many people are knowledgeable about it." He added that if such events were conducted in different parts of bangalore, more people would take up gardening. 
More pictures of the event on our Facebook page. 

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About Yogaraj S Mudalgi 89 Articles
Yogaraj Mudalgi works in the educational training industry and takes an interest in all things happening in Bangalore.