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Kids turn farmers

Learn to compost, grow medicinal herbs, control mosquitoes and make nutrient-rich soil at unique seven-day camp that begins today.

entertainment Updated: May 29, 2011 13:17 IST
Sneha Mahale
Sneha Mahale
Hindustan Times

Being an urban gardener growing organic veggies sans chemicals is a trend that is catching on fast around the world. But becoming a city farmer is not an unachievable task, even for little kids. Especially when a seven-day camp in Mumbai offers tips to help you get started. Urban Leaves, a non-profit organisation promoting urban gardening, is now giving children an opportunity to learn to grow veggies, compost, create self-watering cans, control mosquitoes without chemicals and a lot more. “This camp is essentially for kids. Through lively demonstrations we want children to understand why it is important to grow own veggies and learn about urban farming,” says Preeti Patil, who works at the Bombay Port Trust and initiated Urban Leaves. She adds that the other objective of the camp is to ensure that the kids understand that everything in nature has balance till we interfere and try to control things.

At the camp, kids will also participate in nature trails, identify different plants and trees, compost kitchen waste, learn about medicinal plants/home remedies, know about seeds and masala ingredients and make self-watering cans from recycled plastic bottles. You can also learn to grow herbs like garlic and tulsi. “These are plants that require little care and can do without water for a month,” says Patil. There will also be a session on recycling kitchen water for older kids. You can also learn to make nutrient- rich soil called Amrut Mitti from natural resources found in your surroundings. “We will give out booklets so the kids can refer to the methods used at a later date,” says Patil.

City mom Sharadha Karnik feels such a camp is a necessity in a polluted city like Mumbai. “The more organic we go, the better it will be for our kids. And with rising prices, this could make home budgets economical in the future.” Her 12-year-old son joins in: “It would be cool to grow tomatoes at home and learn about medicinal herbs.”

And you if don’t want to go to camp, Patil says volunteers from Urban Leaves come to housing societies to teach kids all the tricks. She says, “But there need to be at least 10-12 kids.”

First Published: May 29, 2011 13:15 IST