Experiencing India as an urban farmer – Vanessa Harden (The Subversive Gardener) creates public interventions and art installations that explore our relationship with design, people and the world around us. She is a large advocator for Guerilla Gardening in a mission to green the world. So far, Vanessa has spend the year in urban India as a volunteer gardener, in order to not only gain a fresher perspective on urban gardening, but to help others in the mission to green their cities…
as an urban farmer
Ringing in the New Year in Mumbai with an urban farmer
After several years of guerrilla gardening in European and North American cities, I decided it was time to get a fresh perspective. This epiphany has since led me to the busy metropolis of Mumbai in India to see how locals incorporate gardening and environmentalism into their lives. I have been working with a wonderful group of people from #Earthoholics – following them as they teach city dwellers how to create terrace gardens filled with organic vegetables. Today we ventured to the suburb of Navi Mumbai to install a new garden at the home of a couple who are eager to discover the joys of being an urban farmer!
Children’s Hospital Terrace Garden
I had the pleasure and privilege of meeting Dr. Hemant Samel and Dr. Smita Samel, both paediatric doctors and founders of the Ashwini Hospital for Children in Nalasopara, India. Along with showing the Earthoholics team and myself the bountiful garden on the terrace of their hospital, they invited us in for a delicious meal cooked using their homegrown ingredients. Inspiring people taking initiative to better their lives and the lives of those around them ?
SEE MORE: Joshua Harrell’s Urban Gardening Exploits
The Importance of Good Soil
Recounting another beautiful afternoon spent gardening in urban Mumbai. This time we had the opportunity to meet Julius and Priti from GreenSouls, a non-profit organisation supported by volunteers that create organic farms in Mumbai for vulnerable communities. Today we were volunteering at the Cheshire Disability Centre located in the heart of the city. Along with about 8 other voluteers, we set to work building a large garden that would eventually provide residents of the centre with fresh and organic produce. One of the most interesting elements observed was the care taken into using soil that would hold moisture and feed plants for expended periods of time.
“We create our own ‘living’ soil”
explains Julius, “by using organic ‘waste’ matter like leaf litter, tree trimmings, branches, weeds, kitchen waste, tender coconut shells etc collected locally, to make ‘compost’”. In addition to using beautifully enriched soil, GreenSouls also make use of the land’s natural topography in the design of their gardens. In this case, the garden was being built on a slope that directed water down trenches that had been filled with organic matter. Not only was the water being purifying as it made its way through the leave filled trenches. But it was also being directed to the areas of the garden that required the most nourishment. A truly enlightening day spent with the wonderful people of GreenSouls.
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