Urban Leaves India

Saturday, March 15, 2014


We are back to spread the cheer.....
Bright happy faces, peals of laughter, scampering feet and infectious enthusiasm … Urban Leaves invites registrations for the Children’s Workshop on City-Farming.
Discover the green space at Maharashtra Nature Park. 
Potter around the farm. 
Make new friends. 
Try out a recipe of the season’s offerings at Seva Café. 
Lay the bed for the bountiful Amrut Mitti.
Craft a self-watering can. 

Add a little green to beloved Mumbai and most importantly, take home seeds and ideas to start your very own kitchen garden.


Sunday, 30th of March 2014


8:00 AM to 11:00 AM


Maharashtra Nature Park, Gate No. 2, Mahim, Opp Dharavi Bus Depot, 


8-11 years only
The workshop is designed for the age group of 8-11 years. Children in this age group will derive maximum benefit from the activities and content in the workshop.
If your children are younger/older and do not fall in this age group please do not be disheartened because workshops for children in other age groups are also being planned. If you are an interested parent of a younger/older child please fill your details in "INTERESTED IN FUTURE CHILDREN'S WORKSHOP" form given below and we will get back to you with our plans for future workshops.

Rs 400/- each for children.
Rs 200/- each for any accompanying adult. 
Due to space constraints, just one adult per child preferred.
You are welcome to contribute more if you can. Your contributions will go towards extending the city-farming experience to children who cannot afford it or supporting our community farms. Do indicate your preference when you contribute.

  1. Children to come in rough and tough clothes, preferably covering as much skin as possible to avoid mosquito bites or with application of mosquito repellent. 
  2. A cap too is advisable for the sun.
  3. Please wear comfortable shoes/footwear.
  4. Please carry water, a snack and a hand towel.
  5. The workshop will be recorded on camera and images of participants may be used by Urban Leaves on our website and FB page to create awareness about city-farming for all ages. 
For any questions please email us at: urbanleaves [ AT ] gmail [ DOT ] com

PLEASE FILL THE FORM AT THE LINK GIVEN BELOW TO REGISTER FOR THE WORKSHOP. Please ensure that you fill in your PROPER EMAIL ADDRESS as further communication from us will be sent to this address.

Payment can be made via ECS transfer, Cheque/Cash Deposit in Bank, Cash payment to a volunteer or Cheque couriered to us.

State Bank of Hyderabad
IFSC Code of Bank:
Address of the Branch:
1st Road, Near M-Ward Office, Chembur Mumbai 400071
Account Name:  
Type of Bank A/c:
Saving Account No:
PAN Number of Trust:
Please visit a State Bank of Hyderabad branch to deposit your contribution into the "VIDYA VAARIDHI TRUST" account with details as given above.

Please use the link given below to locate a branch in Mumbai/Thane
Select the state as Maharashtra and city as "Greater Bombay" or "Thane" for listing branches in Mumbai or Thane

Please draw a cheque in favor of  "VIDYA VAARIDHI TRUST" and courier to:
Vardhaman Plastochem Pvt. Ltd.,
Kasturi Bldg, Sanghavi Corporate Park,
Behind USV Ltd. , Off Govandi Station Road,
Govandi (E),
Mumbai - 400088
Phone: (022) 61156500

Please write the Participants name (in case the cheque is sent by someone else), registration number and contact number on the back of the cheque and  mention "URBAN LEAVES : CHILDREN'S WORKSHOP ON CITY-FARMING" on the envelope.

Cash can be deposited with Urban Leaves volunteers located in various parts of Mumbai. Please select the desired location in the registration form. You will be emailed the details of the Urban Leaves volunteer to contact for depositing the contribution.

For any questions please email urbanleaves [ AT ] gmail [ DOT ] com

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Join us this Sunday 26th Jan at the SPIT College Rooftop Community Farm, Andheri

It is Republic Day on Sunday 26th Jan. We invite you to join us and celebrate the tri colours of our flag at the SPIT Rooftop Community Garden at Bhavans Campus Andheri. 

On every occasion when we see the tri-colour our hearts are filled with pride, love and admiration.  How about interpreting the tri-colour through the eyes of an organic farmer:

  • Saffron for the sun-the source of all life giving energy on our planet.
  • Green for the plants/vegetation that we nurture and grow.
  • Blue of the Ashok Chakra for the water which is life for our plants.
  • Ashok Chakra indicating the cycle of life, the time needed for life to thrive and grow.
  • And finally White, an amalgamation of all colours representing the unity in diversity of all life.

Just like the colors of our flag the season too brings us beautiful vibrant colours of vegetables and fruits.

While we learn to grow our food we would also like to extend our learning to un-cooking or eating our food raw and healthy. 
So this republic day join us in preparing and sharing foods having the tri colour in them!

Send recipes...or prepare a dish and share it at the community farm. Volunteer at the seva Cafe. 
Lend a hand to prepare Amrut Mitti heaps in this infant farm and carry home your own tub of Amrut Mitti heap with a small ( paid) kit.

In all, join us to celebrate the true Indian spirit in us by sharing our gifts, our joys and our generous spirit. A suggested donation/contribution of Rs 200/- towards the costs of the event and maintenance of the community farm is welcome.

Do bring along your caps, napkins, wear comfortable clothes and shoes. Those who would like to take back Amrut Jal may bring empty bottles to carry back the same.

There is no registration needed. Just join in with your family and friends. But please don't forget to send a  simple mail to urbanleaves [at] gmail [dot] com if you will be joining us  on Sunday.

Sunday 26th January 2014
7:30 AM on-wards till about 10:00 AM
Sardar Patel Institute of Technology's Rooftop Community Farm,
Bhavan's Campus, Munshi Nagar,
Andheri (West), Mumbai

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Seva Cafe -- Giving meaning to our motto of Reap what you Sow; Eat what you grow.

Hello friends

In 2009 began the first Urban Leaves  community farm. A community space where volunteers gifted their time, energy and love to build an organic farm on a concrete slab. The community grew form a humble 4 volunteers to more than fifty with 5 Community Farms in Mumbai today.

Volunteers at the MNP Community Farm- 2009 building Amrut Mitti Beds

Community Farm at the Bhavans nature and Adventure Center

Rooftop Community Farm at the SPIT college Bhavans Campus

Rooftop Community Farm at the Provincial House Don Bosco

Don Bosco rooftop

Gopal Garden school rooftop- Iskon at Borivali
Sagar Upwan - MBPT Colaba
Beginning of The Seva Cafe ( Read about the Seva Cafe Concept Here)

2014, we found inspiration with the work of few friends like Shammi Nanda, Abha Gupta, Sheetal Sanghavi, Mayuri Pandit, Mona Gandhi and we have a new activity included a midst our urban farming activity at the Community Farms.

Food and farms should go together logically..... These days we don't see the farms and see lots of cafes, and restaurants and food malls. We land up in various food courts, on weekends with friends and family....to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, get togethers, or just a lazy weekend. We eat a variety of food, chaat....continental , Chinese, etc....global in its flavour, very expensive.... but rarely do we feel satiated, happy, content, nourished or pampered after such meals. 

As we grow food in our community farms and share these natures beautiful gifts among volunteers, we take a step further to use this produce to cook up or rather uncook delicious raw salads and steamed healthy snacks and herbal Teas.The whole idea is for us to experience the wonderful textures, flavors and aromas of fresh food, grown and cooked with such love and large hearts, with a spirit of seva and community sharing. To inspire the young and the old to grow their own food and use it it to prepare healthy nourishing meals for their family.
growing greens at the Community Farm

As we take our baby steps in creating our city farms, we get educated in the ABC of organic farming. Local and seasonal says our first lesson. And so here we go in search of various local seasonal greens, herbs that will grow well on our balconies and windowsill and terraces. Spinach, Fenugreek, Malabar Spinach, Amarath, Dill, Coriander, Chawli greens, lettuce, radish greens, chana greens and so on. 

The first harvests sets us off seeking  new lessons in cooking up recipes with our produce. 
This sharing has also been instrumental in starting the Seva Cafe.It gives real meaning to our motto of Reap what you sow, Eat what you grow.
Mona Gandhi sharing her yummy raw salad at Don Bosco Rooftop Community Farm

Volunteers preparing a salad at the Don Bosco Community Farm

Salad making at the Bhavans SPIT rooftop Community Farm
Saroj Choudhary with her Yummy greens salad and energy Dip at Don Bosco Community Farm
Do join us on early Sunday mornings with your family and children to experience warm sunshine, gentle soft soil in your hands, lush green terrace spaces, a hearty healthy breakfast among a friendly sharing community.

Contribute to the seva cafe in the following ways:
  • Bring along raw greens, herbs/ salad ingredients
  • Contribute paper eco friendly cups and dishes
  • Contribute toward the expenses for seva cafe
  • Volunteer to cook up a snack/meal
  • Pay it forward for someone's meal
  • Or any other creative way...
Seva Cafe Recipes  (links below will be updated as recipes are uploaded)

The recipes of salads prepared at the Community Farms are detailed below. Try them out using the produce from your city farms or from the farmers markets. We hope their taste will change the way you look at healthy food.
Smiles and Happy Gardening and Harvesting
Team Urban Leaves       

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Amrut Mitti making session at Don Bosco Provincial House terrace community farm

Seasons have changed and winter is knocking on our doors again. Trees have started to shed their leaves. It's the right time now to start the process  of making Amrut Mitti. 

The Urban Leaves - Don Bosco Provincial House  terrace community farm which was initiated on 5th May 2013 is slowly taking shape: from a barren terrace to a green zone. Have a look at the transformation below:

We will be making Amrut Mitti beds for this season on Sunday 8th December 2013 at Don Bosco. You are welcome to join us, do hands on work and learn along with us. There is no registration involved. 

Please do note that this is not a formal workshop. We have workshops lined up from the month of January 2014.

Join us for an hands on experience on making Amrut Mitti beds. After the session please contribute/donate whatever your heart tells you to carry this green movement forward.

Do carry a cap, water bottle and napkin. Wear loose comfortable clothes and lastly don't forget to bring loads of enthusiasm :-).

Join us and learn along with us.

Sunday 8th December 2013

7:30AM onwards till about 10:00AM

Don Bosco Provincial House Terrace,
Don Bosco High School Campus,
Matunga, Mumbai

Wednesday, October 2, 2013


Experience sharing by Gaurang Barrot (Foundation for Environment Conservation, India)

आधी बीज एकलें   
बीज अंकुरलें रोप वाढलें.
एका बीजापोटीं, तरु कोटी कोटी
जन्म घेती, सुमनें फळें.
व्यापुनि जगता तूंहि अनंता
बहुविध रूपें घेसी, घेसी
परि अंती, ब्रम्ह एकलें.

In the beginning there was the seed all alone,
The seed sprouted and  the plant grew
From the womb of one seed, millions of trees
are born, along with flowers and fruits.
You pervade the entire world o Almighty,
in multitude of forms and shapes,
but in the end, there is only one eternal Truth.

The unity and diversity of all beings has being captured in this beautiful Abhang (devotional poem/song) written by Shantaram Athavale from the film Sant Tukaram. It beautifully captures the importance of a seed: all alone in the beginning  and then giving rise to many.

The seed contains the blueprint of the plant. The seed is responsible for propagating life.
 When the proper conditions become available the seed germinates bringing forth the life that was lying dormant in it.. On maturity the plant (a flowering plant) gives rise to the seed and the cycle continues.

The importance of seeds for  all of us cannot be stressed enough. Most of the food that we eat today has its origins in seeds. Pulses, fruits, vegetables you name it most of them if not all start their lives from the humble seed. As urban gardeners it is vitally important that  we understand the seed and the process of seed saving . In today's modern world where genetic modifications are carried out in the labs and seeds are being patented by the multinationals, it becomes our responsibility to save the indigenous varieties of seeds before we lose them for ever.

So join us in an introductory workshop on Seed Saving which will show you some of the simplest  methods of saving seeds of common vegetables and plants, for personal use. 

Gaurang Barrot (Foundation for EnvironmentConservation, India)
The workshop will be conducted by Gaurang Barrot (some of you may have attended his seed saving session at MNP on World Kitchen Garden day) who will share his experience and knowledge about saving seeds. Please note that this is not a rigorous technical workshop. Gaurang will share his experience, observations and knowledge gathered from work on his farm and share basic seed saving techniques.

Some of the topics that will be covered are:
  • What is organic all about?
  • What are seeds?
  • Why do we need to save them?
  • GM/Hybrid , native seeds
  • Type of plants with respect to seed saving
  • Thumb rules for collecting seeds
  • General methods of saving seeds.
  • Storage of seeds/ Dormancy period
  • Sources of native seeds.

DATE: Sunday 20th October 2013

TIME: 8:00 AM to 2:00 PM

VENUE: Provincial House AV Hall, Ground Floor, Don Bonsco High School, Matunga.

CONTRIBUTION350/- This minimum contribution covers our expenses towards breakfast, venue charges, hiring charges for audio and visual aids etc. You are welcome to contribute more if you can. Having said that concession is also available to those who really need it. If you need financial support, please write to us on urbanleaves at gmail dot com, share your situation with us. We will consider the requests on a case by case basis and will get back to you.

Please draw a cheque in favor of  "VIDYA VAARIDHI TRUST" and courier to:

Vardhaman Plastochem Pvt. Ltd.,
Kasturi Bldg, Sanghavi Corporate Park,
Behind USV Ltd. , Off Govandi Station Road,
Govandi (E),
Mumbai - 400088
Phone: (022) 61156500

Please write the Participants name (in case the cheque is sent by someone else), registration number and contact number on the back of the cheque
Please mention the following on the envelope:

State Bank of Hyderabad
IFSC Code of Bank:
Address of the Branch:
1st Road, Near M-Ward Office, Chembur Mumbai 400071
Account Name:  
Type of Bank A/c:
Saving Account No:
PAN Number of Trust:
Please send us the details of the transfer by email


Cash can be deposited with Urban Leaves volunteers located in various parts of Mumbai. Please select the desired location in the registration form. You will be emailed the details of the Urban Leaves volunteer to contact for depositing the contribution.

Please fill the form at the link below to register for the workshop. 
Please ensure that you fill in your proper email address as further communication from us will be sent to this address.


REF:Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Azy3W4V_-Dk
REF:Image: http://www.clker.com/clipart-world-in-our-hands-1.html

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Mumbai celebrates World Kitchen Garden Day 2013

An irony that the World Kitchen Garden Day needs to be celebrated indoors every year in Mumbai due to heavy rains. But that does not stop the crowd of more than 200 spirited gardeners from having a gala time!
Check out at leisure about how Mumbai celebrated this Day. 

"I was sitting on a fence post, slapping on my left knee

chewing on my bubblegum, CHOMP!.. CHOMP!..CHOMP!..CHOMP!
playing with my YO-YO, DOO-WOP!.. DOO -WOP!, DOO-WOP!
And watching the birds fly by and then along came HERMAN THE WORM..."

The World Kitchen Garden Day's ice breaking session started with the participants moving to the beats of this song . The AV hall at Maharashtra Nature Park rang with the sounds of laughter as  the participants  lead by Mirabelle D'chunha danced to this song. Young and old all joined in the fun as we tried to get people to connect.

This was followed by a beautiful song sung and written  by our very own Swati Barve
People from all over Mumbai had converged on to the Maharashtra Nature Park, Mahim to join the World Kitchen Garden day celebrations. This was first time that all urban farming groups in Mumbai came together to celebrate. Mumbai is a huge city and the objective of the celebration was to provide a platform to kitchen gardeners to connect with other like minded people and kitchen gardening groups in their local areas to take the movement forward.
All participants gathered at the Maharashtra Nature Park
The principles of open space
It was the first time that an Urban Leaves event was  based on a format inspired by the Open spaces philosophy. We had multiple sessions offered by participants running in parallel at various spaces in the spirit of "Giftivism". Participants had the freedom to attend any session that interested them. Since this was our maiden attempt at this format or unFormat it was challenging for the organizing team us as well as for the participants.
The first half of the event was a little chaotic with participants tried to first understand the format as well as tried to reach a decision about which workshop to attend. The choices were so enticing that it was difficult for many to reach a decision. 
It was  vibrant a "Mela" (Fair) of people moving around like bees  trying to gather the honey of knowledge from various flowers. 
Monisha Narke from RUR : explaining composting
Purvita Kapadia and Vipul Sanghavi teaching Amrut Mitti and building trellises
We had workshops/discussions  hosted by Blooms, Green Souls, Urban Leaves, RUR happening simultaneously  in various spaces. We had Square Foot Gardening (Prakash Shetty), Window sill gardening ( Priyanka ) Home composting (Monisha Narke) , Agnihotra (Vidya Didwania) , a biodiversity walk (Aristo Mendes), Introduction to Bees (Anand Manjrekar) , Compost tea (Nitya Anand), Children's activities (Mrunalini Gole) running in parallel in the first half of the event.
All about Bee Keeping
Mrunalini Gole with kids
Prakash Shetty and his demo on sq ft gardening.
Saroj Chaudhary and Abha Gupta wowed the participants with recipes made from fresh and seasonal produce like palak (Spinach), shewga (moringa) leaves, paan (betel e)leaves. Who would have thought that the humble palak will taste so heavenly as a roll, or that we can make laddu's out of pan leaves or a chatpata chat could be made with these seasonal vegetables.
Nitya Anand and her compost Tea

Saroj Choudhary and her healthy delicious recipes
Abha Gupta taking a session on healthy recipes

Art from waste by Kala Ponnuri
Post lunch we had sessions on Seed saving (Gaurang Barrot) , Designing a food forest (Preeti Patil), Making toys from recyclable items  at home (Kala Ponnuri), Amrut jal and Amrut Mitti (Purvita Kapadia), Trellis making (Vipul Sanghavi).
A delicious Lunch by The Health Awareness Center delighted everyone with their mouth watering healthy specialties.  While all activities were happening we had a steady stream of visitors to the "Do nothing tapari" for a sip of the refreshing herbal tea along with jhal mudhi(a puffed rice bhel snack). This was last minute addition provided by Shammi Nanda to enable participants to just chill out in a corner and connect over a cup of hot herbal tea. Shammi also guided us throughout organising the open space unformat of the event.
Ingredients for herbal Tea

A special feature during the day was a session conducted by him on the lines of Non Violent Communication. A problem that we all encounter in our urban areas is that of our housing societies disallowing members to plant kitchen gardens. Shammi's session focused on how to deal with such societies and convince them. There were many takers for this session too.

An important session by Tejal Vishweshwar regarding the threat of GMO'S in our food called Need, Weed,Seed highlighted the importance of kitchen gardeners and farmers and consumers taking the step  to ensure food safety. And how one could ensure self sufficiency and learning through activities like kitchen gardening.

Herman or rather Herman-jeet the worm once again made the participants sway to his tune in the closing circle.
Our behind the scenes hard working team.
All this would not have been possible without our behind the scenes volunteers who strove before, during and after the event to make it a success. Neesha Noronha thank you for giving shape to the unformat chart through your creative inputs. Amit Malgaonkar, Kavita and Hemant Khosla, Bhagyashree Kelkar, Hemali Mehta, Joslyn Almeida, Prema Aiyer, Sheetal Sanghvi, Ashfaq Ahmed thank you for being there and providing your support.  A special thank you to Prajakta Patil, Trisha Basu and Samir Jain for covering the event through their lenses. The beautiful photographs of the event are the fruits of their efforts. The feedback that we received from the participants  post the event is positive and encouraging with valuable suggestions for improvement. Many commented that it was difficult for them to make a choice regarding which workshop they should attend as there were so many to choose from. 
This is true especially for a society which is so used to having things decided for them. Having  freedom to make a decision for self learning is something we all are not used to, as this natural instinct is stifled in our current schools and in our society. 
Our learnings from the events were many: We learnt that people need to understand and be prepared for a little chaos in the beginning. 
Although we had announced the format on our blog and our networks, had requested participants to connect prior to event, many had not read or seen these posts and were therefore unaware of what would be involved. We hope as years go by we will be able to help people understand this format better and get involved more deeply.
We also learnt that this unFormat has something to offer to everyone right from a  novice to people already on the path of urban gardening. It also makes people think and take a conscious decision and focus on what they currently need, (there's a world of difference in what we want and what we need and in life) to move on with their work. For those who haven't started on, it gives a chance to explore and  experience. 
Thank you all for making this event such an eventful one. There was learning in it for all of us, from un-Organizing to hosting workshops and discussion in open spaces. To those who felt a little disappointed at not being able to take it all, we would like to share that we have noted your feedback and hope to help you understand the process of open spaces a little better. The highlight of the event as we experienced it was the opportunity that so many of us got to showcase what we were doing in this field of kitchen gardening.  New talents emerged. New friendships were made. Focus this year was to facilitate networking and new friendships.

For more detailed photos of the event, CLICK HERE.
Garlands made from kitchen waste adorn our necks and delight our hearts!
Wishing everyone a great year ahead for growing their kitchen gardens and selves
Team Urban Leaves

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