Even though fertilisers and pesticides have become prerequisites to grow crops, too much of anything is a vice, and the consumption of pesticide-laden fruits and vegetables on a daily basis has been proven by scientists and agriculturalists to be the cause of significant health hazards in human beings.
Concerned with the authenticity of what’s on one’s plate and health, on the whole, many people in urban spaces are consciously making the switch of growing their produce in their backyards and terraces in the most organic manner possible.
One amongst the rising tide of urban farmers is Tirupur-resident Jeevna Murlidharan, who has been successfully growing over 34 varieties of fruits, vegetables and herbs on her rooftop garden for the last two years.
The 47-year-old homemaker took the organic route because she wanted to provide fruits and vegetables to her family that lacked any poisonous trace of pesticides.
Believing in the principle of ‘grow what you eat and eat what you grow,’ Jeevna transformed a space of 1,800 sq. ft. on the rooftop for homegrown produce.
From different varieties of papaya, guava, custard apple, gooseberry, grapes, sapota, to vegetables like brinjal, tomato, beans, cucumber, and carrot, one can find small sized oranges, dwarf coconut trees and even spices like pepper.
Interestingly, Jeevna has employed various innovative cultivation techniques in her farming venture, out of which one is growing flowers amidst a garden full of vegetables and fruits. “Flowers are raised to attract bees and other insects, which in turn help in pollination of vegetable,” she explained to The Hindu.
To keep pests at bay, she grows insect repellent plants like Thai basil, mint and lemongrass and uses organically prepared manure for the crops.
Apart from domestic consumption, Jeevna also prepares value-added products like oil and herbal items from the plants. Every time Jeevna ends up harvesting a bumper crop, she shares the excess produces with her neighbours.
It is impressive how Jeevna has managed to turn such a small space into a veritable kitchen garden, and in doing so, has ensured that not only does her family eat healthily, but also that the hurried visits to the vegetable store have completely stopped!
To know more, visit Jeevna’s facebook page, Jeeva’s Urban Organic Garden.