Think of a housing society, and the picture that comes to one’s mind would be a block of concrete with some trees along the path.

In Bengaluru’s Sarjapur, the 152-house SJR Redwoods Residential Society, spread across five acres of land was no different either, until the society’s gardening team decided to transform the landscape around.

With a blooming food forest in the middle of the two-acre common land, the residents now wake up to the fragrance of fresh flowers and herbs, which can be used for cooking.

“Since we had no budget to spare, we decided to create a zero-budget model which would not require the residents to spend even a single rupee for our project,” tells Kavitha Kishore, a resident and a member of the society’s gardening team.

They used seeds from fruits consumed in homes to grow saplings of jackfruit, mango and other varieties of fruit trees. They also hosted various awareness workshops and training sessions on how to plant and maintain nurseries, for the residents.



The society now boasts of a variety of trees — such as papaya, banana, guava, custard apple, neem, jamun, cherry and mango, besides palms and sugarcane trees.

“We also have a collection of edible herbs such as holy basil, giloy, balloon vine, Thai basil and bishop’s weed. The residents also experimented with growing vegetables such as tomatoes, bitter gourd, spinach, yam and sweet potatoes,” Kavitha says.

Additionally, the society also started decomposing its leaf litter by creating four netted zones for composting.

This initiative has helped the dwellers prevent six tonnes of garden waste from entering landfills. In addition, each compost zone yielded 100 sacks of compost per quarter.

“Instead of adding to the expenses, the effort helped us save Rs 1.5 lakh. There were no vehicles carrying garbage out of the premises, which made us feel proud,” she says.