On a quiet evening in 2017, Ajay Raghavan watched a documentary that would forever change his perspective on the world.
The documentary was ‘Before The Flood’, in which Leonardo DiCaprio meets with scientists, activists and world leaders to discuss the dangers of climate change and possible solutions.
Based in Bengaluru, Ajay was a father to a five-year-old and was horrified for his daughter’s future. “Climate changes and global warming became very real, and I started to worry about what kind of a world I am going to leave behind for my daughter,” he says.
In 2020, he decided to quit his decade-long law practice to do something for the environment.
The result was Bengaluru Creative Circus — an urban living lab which attempts to address issues of sustainability, nature, science and art by engaging communities through cultural events, farmers’ markets, workshops and more.
The initiative is built from the ground up on an out-of-use warehouse in Yeshwanthpur, Bengaluru. The space has a museum, a garden store, and demonstrations of solutions ranging from urban farming to upcycled art and decor.
One of the most interesting parts of the space is their canteen. “We thought about how we can bring more people together. Food is something that has this ability, and that is how the idea of The Circus Canteen came together,” he says.
The sustainable eatery is made using upcycled materials retrieved from the warehouse and through collection drives.
For the menu, the canteen has a number of dishes and an evolving menu depending on the availability of raw materials, all grown inside the place.
Ajay says, “I think it is very essential to have a dialogue about the various environmental issues that we have, but at the same time, bring forth the solutions. At the lab, this is precisely what we want and try to do.”