Garden City Farmers (GCF), Bengaluru, is delighted to celebrate World Kitchen Garden Day with the 8th edition of Oota From Your Thota, Bangalore’s only urban organic gardening fair.
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The one-day event will be held on Sunday, 25 August 2013, from 10am to 5pm at the Durga Parameshwari grounds, Opposite Rangashankara, JP Nagar.
Over the past few years, while Bangalore has lost countless trees, the patches of green in its houses are growing, slowly, yet steadily. Bangaloreans have begun turning their spaces, however small, into lush gardens and the kind that provides food. The number of vegetable terrace gardens in the city have grown to as many as 1000 estimates BN Vishwanath, a pioneer of urban vegetable gardening in the city.
Growing one’s own herbs, medicinal plants, vegetables and fruits organically also means access to food that is nutritious and safe for consumption. Urban gardeners also help reduce the stress on farmers to satisfy growing food needs and keep tonnes of organic waste out of garbage dumps by turning them to compost for vegetable gardens.
Oota From Your Thota (OFYT) which literally means ‘food from your garden’ in Kannada is a quarterly event held by Garden City Farmers at different locations in the city. This edition will aptly celebrate World Kitchen Garden Day. The single-minded purpose of the event is encouraging Bangaloreans to grow their own food organically.
Since is often difficult and time consuming for gardeners to source various materials such seeds, containers, growing media, plant protection materials etc, OFYT brings together all essential resources under one roof. The event also gives organic farmers and sustainable producers a place to showcase their products – this spans from organic vegetables grown by rural farmers, eco-friendly cosmetics, green washing solutions, composting options and different resources that help one make everyday choices good for the planet. Discussions with gardening experts, films and demonstrations are an integral part of the event.
Whether it is stay-at-home moms or busy techies, the city is teeming with inspirations: those who’ve shown that anyone can be a gardener. Strawberries, cherry tomatoes, chives, bok choy, gourds, melons, cabbages, peppers, potatoes, herbs, fruit trees.. there is little that the city’s growers haven’t tried.
A few gardeners with permission have turned empty plots next to their homes into gardens. Some have grown food on land that’s been rented out. Vijay Satish of Jayanagar who grows 90% of all his vegetables on his terrace, Ananya Mehta who has been growing her own vegetables for 12 years now, Aparna George who grows on land taken on a lease are but a few examples from the city.
Highlights of the event
Kid’s Corner: In collaboration with Soil and Soul, the event will include a fun hands-on corner just for the tiny tots. They’ll be able to get their hands dirty in real soil, learn about saplings and insects in a home garden. Games, mural-making, painting and learning all about lesser known fruits and vegetables will be part of the activities.
Organic Farmers’ Market: For the first time we’re attempting to create and build a platform where genuine organic/ natural farmers can sell their produce directly to the end users without middlemen. This will also facilitate a dialogue (a rural-urban connect) and help disseminate the message of sustainability and strengthening of local economies, safe consumption and food sovereignty.
Salad party: At each OFYT, we like to throw ourselves a small potluck salad party. Gardeners bring salad veggies and fruits grown in their homes organically and we treat ourselves to fresh lemonade and refreshing fruit and veggie salads.
Chat with expert: Can your terrace take the weight of a vegetable garden? What vegetables must one start with? How many pots of tomatoes would you need for your family size? OFYT is teeming with experts and experienced gardeners who’ll be glad to answer queries.
Model Vegetable garden: At The 8th OFYT, we’ve grown a kitchen garden just for the event! The team planted vegetables a few months ago and these containers will be transported to the event location to demonstrate that growing what you eat is possible.
Vishwanath K Narayan, Author, Organic Terrace Gardening: “The one thing that was keeping people from taking up organic gardening was the difficulty in procuring materials. Getting your seeds from one place, manure from another and looking for containers from elsewhere is very inconvenient. There are also things such as natural pesticides that one needs. An organic fair like this one helps people get over the logistical difficulties and give vegetable gardening a try.”
Vijetha Nagabhushan N, Green entrepreneur, GoGreen: “Day by day people are becoming more aware of organic farming and have been approaching me for implementing food gardens on their terraces. I will have herbs, medicinal plants, organic seeds, saplings, neem oil and panchagavya among other things on sale at this OFYT.”
Vani Murthy, Urban Gardener, Malleswaram: “I learned everything about growing food with this group that created this event. I had never grown any edible food till then. Not even a single tomato. Today, I proudly call myself an urban farmer and it is only because I was totally smitten by this experience.”
Sumathi Sreekumar, OFYT Visitor: “The best part about the event for me is sharing and swapping of seeds/saplings. I’ve been able to learn tips and tricks for growing vegetables from people I’ve have never met before.”
See list of stalls at the OFYT here.
Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/OrganicTerraceGardening/
Blog address: http://ofyt.tumblr.com/
About Garden City Farmers: Garden City Farmers (GCF) is a Non-profit, Non-Government Organisation to promote and popularize Urban Farming on strong organic concepts. The focus of GCF is educating urban dwellers on the benefits of organically grown food, need for urban farming, fostering the set up of urban farms/kitchen gardens and reducing food miles leading to a healthy ecosystem.