By Vani Murthy
Nearly 10 years ago, I visited a landfill, saw the destruction citizens like me left behind somewhere on the outskirts of the city that wreaked havoc on the people living around. This experience changed the course of my life forever.
As I began digging deeper and started observing every mundane act of mine from my changed perspective about everything to do with waste, I met some of the most passionate, caring and environmentally responsible people in this journey. What more, I also realised that I had a passion brewing somewhere deep inside: converting organic waste into compost.
Composting led me to Dr Vishwanath Narayan, the pioneer in organic terrace gardening in the city and beyond. For a person who had not hitherto grown a single plant in her entire life, meeting this group of terrace gardeners was a turning point. My conscious choices concerning sustainable living became a compelling reason for me to think beyond mindless consumption. Growing safe food in the living soil was not just an experiment, but a life-changing experience.
Soon, I started calling myself an urban farmer, through social media and events like Oota From Your Thota (OFYT), I gained valuable knowledge to learn a life skill and discover a farmer in me. OFYT is the flagship event of the Garden City Farmers headed by Dr Viswanath. This event is held every quarter and attracts thousands of citizens aiming at transforming the way they look at food. In an era where most of the food we get is chemically grown, here was a platform to learn, share, motivate and inspire thousands of people to grow their own vegetables and fruits on their terraces. It is a movement that is becoming stronger and powerful in human transformation.
Just a few days ago, it was an honour and privilege to be a part of the launch of OFYT’s website at the amazing terrace space called My Dream Garden. CEO of Mydreamgarden Ashok Kumar and his young team have put together this informative website: http://www.mydreamgarden.in. With this, we are hoping that more people will connect to growing food and enjoying staying close to nature.
It is days like these that reinforce the purpose of my life, the bonus being a visit to a terrace garden of an active organic terrace gardener Ritu. It was so inspiring to see her terrace with more than 20 to 25 fruit trees, a heaven on earth!
The higher purpose of our living is to be gentle on this planet and in turn, be gentle on our own beings. The primary health sector should be growing safe food for human consumption. I found my purpose in life and wish many more will choose theirs. Cheers to many more such dream days in the years to come.
Vani Murthy, the queen of composting, a renowned urban farmer and passionate citizen leader, is one of the most active campaigners for sustainable SWM in Bengaluru and beyond. She started her SWM journey in 2008 with the Wealth Out of Waste programme and set out on awareness campaigns for her co-citizens in Malleswaram. She is a founding member of SWMRT and We Care for Malleswaram.