Malleshwaram learns to grow oota from their thota

Megha R, 32, a resident of RMV 2nd stage was eager to learn how to make compost at her home for her garden. She came with her husband to buy different variety of saplings grown from organic seeds to plant in her garden. She wants to use organic, natural manure and compost for her plants and organic seeds to grow new ones. And she thinks "Oota from your Thota" held in Malleshwaram, on March 25 was the perfect place for her.

This was the fourth edition of this event by Garden City Farmers Trust, Bangalore (GCFT) after BTM Layout, Electronic City, and Hebbal. This event too witnessed visitors in a large numbers. Bengalureans visited about 25 stalls full of organic and eco-friendly products ranging from food items to eco-friendly bags. Organic transplants and seeds were a big hit among the visitors.

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Martina, originally from France, who is making a movie "Millet on my Platter" shared advantages of growing Ragi. It needs less water to cultivate and is more nutritious. Special items like ragi powder and ragi – milk mix were an attraction for the visitors. Samples of ragi powder were kept for everyone to taste. She asked, "why are we reducing the use of ragi instead of increasing? Consumers make the market. If we demand ragi, we will get ragi."

While ragi was the most talked about product in the event, terrace gardening was one of the highlights of the event. Everything from the pots, containers, equipment, seeds, transplants and fertilizers was available for them who were just getting started with the gardening process.

Aarthi G, 51, a resident of Sheshadripuram said, "I am planning to set up a terrace garden in my bungalow. I wanted to know what the initial process was and I also wanted to buy the equipment required for gardening. Good that I came here. I got all that I needed."

For those who wanted to make organic manure and compost in their homes, demonstrations were held to make it easier for the visitors to practice in their homes. Dry leaves are mixed with the kitchen waste and kept in "Khambha" a vessel specially designed to make compost. It is turned every three days so the compost gets air and does not smell. Vani Murthy, member of Solid Waste Management Round Table, Bangalore said, "this kind of composting also helps in managing the solid waste from kitchen and is very nutritious for the soil and plants."

Eco-friendly bags with the use of 0% plastic of any form were another highlight of the event. A plethora of colourful, lightweight and foldable bags hand-made by village women in Tamil Nadu were on sale and had a large base of buyers too. Gauri Rameshwaran, 28, a software engineer from a leading firm in Whitefield said, "I have purchased these bags before too. They are eco-friendly, trendy and can make for good gifts too."

Children happily accompanied their parents and grandparents to the event. Krishna Murthy, a resident of Malleshwaram said, "my five year old daughter is excited about growing tomatoes in the garden this time. I bought organic tomato seeds and I wanted to experiment with growing lettuce so purchased a pack of lettuce seeds too."

Dr Meenakshi Bharath, member of the waste segregation team said, "people are becoming aware of organic gardening and so are keen in making compost for gardens in their houses. This is a good sign for the city."

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