Urban Leaves India: September 2010

Wednesday 22 September 2010

Workshop on " How to create your own Natueco city Farm"

Dear Friends

We often think…….
Which is the perfect healthy food for me and my family?
How can I better my relationships with my neighbors?
How can I cope with rising prices of vegetables?
Wont it be wonderful to grow my own herbs?
How can I do my bit to help reduce global warming?
Well….. There is one creative skill which can which help you cope.
Wish to learn the same?
Yes! We all do! But as they say, if wishes were horses, beggars would ride.
Most of the time our best intentions remain just that!  Wishful thinking.
Here’s a chance to learn and act….

                                                           Click on image to enlarge


You are what you eat. Come learn how we at Urban Leaves nourish our bodies and souls through the practice of city farming. Natueco Farming and building Amrut Mitti gives us a holistic perspective about how the food we eat is related to all these issues. We hope the workshop will give you both the motivation to start growing your own food and the tools and the network to help you do so. 

 URBAN LEAVES (an Initiative of Vidya Varidhi Trust) conducts workshops on “How to initiate your own Natueco City Farm" at Maharashtra Nature Park ( MNP ) from time to time. The sessions  are conducted by Preeti Patil who manages one of the most successful city farms in Mumbai. Preeti has been in charge of this award winning terrace farm since its inception 10 years ago and today with full grown trees, herbs, vegetables and a variety of fruit trees, it stands testimony to the fact that urban farms are very doable. 

The detailed address of Maharashtra Nature Park (also called as Mahim Nature Park) is
Maharashtra Nature Park Society,
Sion Bandra Link Road,
Near Dharavi Bus Depot,
Dharavi Mumbai 400017
tel: 2407 9939 /  2407 7641
On Central Line one can get down at Sion station and take an auto.On Western line it is close to Bandra and Mahim station.


 Pl email to urbanleaves@gmail.com for further assistance.

The Team
Urban Leaves
Vidya Varidhi Trust

Monday 13 September 2010

Update on the workshop: "Waste it" or "Invest it".

In spite of the heavy rains we saw a wonderful turnout 
for the workshop!
Great photos : courtesy Aditi and Prajakta
The entrance to the auditorium at MNP
The participants tried to hop, skip, jump and find their way into the auditorium. Why so? 
There are four entrances to the auditorium.The two front entrances were covered from top to bottom by plastic waste and elastic rubber. After everyone settled down,a short discussion on perception of the participants on the above followed. The blocked entrances signified a finite boundary. Just like Earth which has a finite boundary, beyond which we cannot go. 
The shortest and easiest route was full of plastic, and crap which people use, throw and collect in their environment. The longest route was open without hurdles, surrounded by greenery, but alas not much used!
In our daily lives too, each of us are given choices of the path we can take.Sometimes we have to go away from the path most used to find our way to the sustainable destination.
Neesha  gave a welcome and introduction to the 
program and demonstrated some  warm up activities
 for the participants. She brought the group together 
with a song of the earth. 
Monisha began her talk with a presentation on 
waste and her experiences at Dharavi. Some
 of the interactions and presentations are noted here:
What is Waste:

W orthless, toxic
A dverse
S melly
T hrow away                          
E eeky 

Today Dharavi the hub of waste recycling in Mumbai is considered a - flourishing industry, Energy efficient as the people who work there do so in dark dingy spaces without any light connection, Low labor, low cost, as most of them are children. 
But ecologically can it be called as flourishing? Toxic products, Water and other products recycled without purifying can be dangerous to the already polluted environment. Products need to be ecologically mapped with Carbon footprint indicated on every label.
Facts about Mumbai Mahanagarpalika ( The Municipal Corporation)
15 million residents in Mumbai
6500 tons solid waste
2500 construction waste
983 municipal and private vehicles- 1400 trips
30000 man power
1000 crore budget
Each truck uses fuel – and the cost is paid by you.
There are 3 landfills in Mumbai – Gorai (unused now),  Mulund and Deonar. A new one is planned at Kanjur Marg.
At Deonar: Plastic bags, shoes, batteries are heaped up at the landfills. The garbage is 20 feet deep and 30 feet high. Methane gas - Smelly chokes the nostrils. People look like dolls. Bottles are segregated here and recycled.
Life span of waste 

Banana Peel:              3-4 weeks
Paper bags:                1 month
Cotton bags:               5 months.
Woollen socks”          1 year
Wood:                         15 years
Nylon:                         30 years
Leather:                     50 years
Tin cans:                    250 years
Plastic:                       10 lakh years
Glass:                         10 lakh years (100% recyclable)
Styrofoam:                Eternity – Highly Toxic.
Burning waste is more toxic. Polymers of plastic release methane when heated. Try pouring hot tea in a plastic pouch and see the effect.
Vishal one of the volunteers with RUR informed: “Burning plastic releases methane, ethane, hydrocarbon gases like CO and CO2 . Poly ethelene PET bottles are reused but not recyclable. Reliance recycles these bottles nowadays into clothing.”
Knowing the ecological footprint of mineral water bottles, it is good to avoid buying mineral water. You can survive without it.
Plastic absorbs, transports and releases pollutants
 Water: 70 million tonnes of floating waste goes down the drain through the Mithi river to Arabian sea and all the way to the Carribean.  
                                                          Garbage can form islands – 
The great garbage patch. Watch the harsh reality. 
How do we love the earth?
 Poem written by the RUR team was read out
 One which made many eyes moist. 

“Landfill” Live

Me and my friends from RUR
Went on a trip to Deonar
Not a tree in sight , Not a bird to hear
Only stench that warns us not to go near
A bird flies by along a plane,
choked by deadly Methane
Buffaloes grazing on the brink
Wonder, is that the milk we drink?
Few of us are bold to climb
To reach the top of that grime
The Green BMC trucks , The Yellow Earth Movers
Dot the skyline!
We see many little rag pickers
Smile for our camera flickers
From plastic packets to shoe soles
It pinches to see our earths decaying soul
What a waste of waste? 
Its our little ones future we kill
Why Cant we live without a landfill?
                                                                                                        --RUR TEAM

What is the root of the problem? Where does the solution lie? Watch the film. The story of stuff.

Please Reduce, Reuse,Recycle.

Demo on home composting followed:

    Our experience in home composting has been successful. Home composting imitates nature. In the jungle, this process is natural. Organic waste becomes soil. The waste is composted by micro organisms. This is the cycle of waste.

1. Aerated compost bin. Bins require aeration. Investment can be anything between Rs 50/- for a plastic bucket to 1500 for a fancy pot. Use plastic buckets with holes at bottom or perforated containers. (Add worms). Put wet waste in these containers. (Heated screw driver is ideal for making holes in plastic). Size of bucket depends on number of people staying in the house.
 Bucket is placed in a window grill

3.  ATM is the key– Ensure Air Temperature Moisture Balance
4.  Add wet waste daily (chop up waste with knife or scissors)
5.  Add dry waste like leaves, sawdust, dung 2ce a week
6.  Mix the layers once daily . (organic enzymes may be used to quicken the decomposition)
M Maggots may appear in the mixture. Smells may come. Keep the mixture covered and sufficiently away at a distance from you. Maggots like their food, they wont come to you.
   There is no danger to health. At most fruit flies may come if you are careless. Chop waste finely to avoid fruit flies. 
Group activity
Green minds get together to create 
advertisements for green products.

            Below:Grass root Volunteer from
 Stri Mukti Sanghatna sharing her experiences. 
The session ended with a live demo on how to make
 recycled paper from used TETRA PAK Packages

The participant green kits  included a reuseable RUR cloth bag, 
with a notebook recycled from used TETRA PAK Packages

Many Thanks to the whole team of RUR for 
making this a success. It shows how concerned
 dedicated mothers can make a difference to
make the world a better place for their children.