Campus farming: IITians grow vegetables on hostel premises | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Campus farming: IITians grow vegetables on hostel premises

At the Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay (IIT-B), in Powai, a small patch of land has been cleared in Hostel 8, and compost pits are in the process of being constructed. Over the next two months, students of the hostel will grow and maintain a host of fruit and vegetable plants.

mumbai Updated: Oct 03, 2012 01:08 IST
Bhavya Dore

At the Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay (IIT-B), in Powai, a small patch of land has been cleared in Hostel 8, and compost pits are in the process of being constructed. Over the next two months, students of the hostel will grow and maintain a host of fruit and vegetable plants.

Samwad, a group of 10 to 15 students who initiated the project, is seeking to bring the concept of urban farming to the campus. Work on the urban farm began on Tuesday in one hostel. The group plans to target other hostels as well.

“In two months, we will hopefully be able to eat our own vegetables,” said Surbhi Mundra, 21, a fourth year electrical engineering student and a member of Samwad. “The dream is to have a complete meal from what we grow in our own hostel nursery.”

Students have so far planted cauliflower, carrot, brinjal, ladyfinger and chillies.

The initiative started in August when the group began with ‘plastic nurseries’, or sowing seeds in bottles of soil. These plants, which have since grown, will now be transplanted to the 60-square foot patch of farm that students began to clear on Tuesday.

The inspiration behind the project is a combination of factors – self-sustenance, sidestepping the difficulties of pesticide-laden food and deterioration of items in long-distance transport.

“The solution to some of these challenges is urban farming in these low-cost low-maintenance models,” said Mundra. “Student volunteers will look after the nursery. We are planning to spread this to other hostels as well.”

Challenges that the students anticipate include lack of space and sunlight. However, they hope the initiative will spark off inspiration in other hostels and lead others on campus to follow suit.

“Though there is enough space in our campus, this [urban farming] isn’t done,” said Vishnu Vardhan, 19, a third year computer science student and Samwad member. “We are trying to set an example so that others can also start nurseries, maybe even on a larger scale.”