1. Agriculture World

Grow Organic Vegetables Easily at Home with This Low-cost ‘GIY Kit’

Abha Toppo
Abha Toppo
GIY kit

41-year-old Avanee Jain recalls - “As a young girl, I would make numerous trips to my grandfather’s farm but that time I had no idea that these would materialise to something, years later”.

Established in the year 2009, ‘Upaj’ runs a farm in Gujarat where vegetables are grown without any chemicals or pesticides. Besides this, the enterprise also offers ‘Grow-it-yourself (GIY)’ kits to make farming a part of urban lifestyle.

The GIY kit contains a biodegradable pot made up of coconut, seeds, organic fertiliser, planting tag and an instruction manual. All you will have to do is just pour some water in the kit and see how the vegetables grow.

Avanee was born and brought up in Vadodara and she completed her B.Arch in 2000. She worked in the industry for few years but later decided to quit & concentrate on raising her children. And when her kids grew up, Avanee decided to take her love for gardening seriously and began growing vegetables on her 50,000 sq ft plot.

She said, “I combined the farming knowledge I got from my grandfather, with some online research & began growing seasonal vegetables. In the first cycle, I had used chemicals & pesticides and the extent of deterioration in nutrients of the plants was clear. Then I realised that I don’t want those chemically grown veggies on my dining table”.

When the first crop cycle was about to finish, she started looking for safer alternatives & decided to train herself on organic farming via YouTube videos. She also registered herself in a long-distance course on permaculture at the Cornell University to improve her knowledge in farming techniques.

Avanee explained that “I replaced those chemicals with biomass (fallen leaves, leftover vegetable waste & wet waste). This not only keeps the insects away, but also helps in retaining water. I also used biomass for mulching or covering soil. The thick layer stops weed growth and burning of root hair in summers”. She chose multi-cropping - a technique wherein more than 2 crops are planted together, to save water & increase the yield output.

She later hired women from an underprivileged background to help her manage daily farm activities, and today she has total 10 people. To obtain seeds for her farm, she tied up with 3 groups of farmers from nearby villages.

How she spread her expertise?

Once she got used to farming, Avanee began inviting people, farmers & school students for visits & workshops on organic farming.

In the seminar, she lends a piece of her land to the client and asks them to cultivate fruits or vegetables. Avanee gives all necessary knowledge through her workshops like using right organic fertilisers, water-saving techniques in farms and planting multiple crops together for a faster produce. Trainees are also seeds and organic fertilisers.

Up till now, Upaj has conducted more than 400 workshops on different subjects relating to Urban farming & gardening at home.

People then started asking for seeds so that they could grow vegetables easily at home. That is when she came up with the idea of GIY kit.

She added that people are increasingly leaning towards natural food, but it is costly and everyone cannot afford it. Moreover for people living in the big cities, space is a big challenge. This GIY kit is a one-stop solution for all.

Avanee is now mulling to design a kit exclusively for kids. Besides the pot & seeds, it will contain a small information booklet explaining the farming method, vegetables recipes, benefits etc.

If you are keen about farming and want grow your own vegetables at home then check out different kits provided by Upaj Farms - upajfarm.com

Source - BetterIndia

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