Urban Leaves India: 2011

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

National Seminar on Organic Urban Gardening, 10th -12th December 2011 Mumbai

Dear City Farmer friends

We are back (after sending out the pre-invite) with details of the National Seminar. Please excuse us for the delay, but we hope that our initial notification of the dates has enabled many of you to plan your trip and book your tickets.

The aim of hosting this seminar is to give faces to names, learn some amazing gardening secrets from experienced practitioners, interact and meet all those like minded people across the country with whom we have been sharing our joys of harvests, sharing tips on composting, sowing and reaping up till now on e--groups and networking sites.

We hope this seminar will act as a catalyst to the growth in urban gardens which began last year with the first ever urban farming seminar in Bangalore. The seminar has therefore been designed keeping in mind the needs of urban gardeners.

We hope to have loads of interaction and fun, group discussion and a happy heart to take back sweet memories and a song in our heart as we begin working on our urban gardens once we are back at home.

Please see the  BROCHURE below  for details on agenda and programme, location, fees payable. 

Click on the last icon in tool bar below , to viw FULL SCREEN.


Hope to meet all of you in December in Mumbai.

Smiles and happiness
Urban Leaves 

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Second National Seminar On Urban Gardening

Reap What You Sow, Eat What You Grow!

Urban Leaves invites one and all to the Second National Seminar On Urban Gardening to be held in Mumbai on December 10, 11 & 12th - 2011.

A two day seminar-cum-workshop with an optional half day workshop on preparation of Amrut Mitti (on the third day) is designed to excite and enthuse the experienced urban gardeners across the country and to whet the appetite of novice urban gardeners. We hope the workshop will also be an opportunity for urban food farmers to find and connect with fellow enthusiasts.

This is a pre-invite announcement for many of you from different parts of the country to book/block your train tickets. A detailed invite with registration forms will be sent out within a week.

We expect that our enthusiastic urban gardener friends have already marked their calendars! Now to help the fence sitters to make up their mind, some highlights of what we have planned for you!

Day One: 10th December 2011 - Saturday
·    Earthcare, Peoplecare, Fairshare- Permaculture principles!
Principles of Permaculture by Clea Chandmal
A  bio-technologist  and permaculture practioner who farms in Goa , Clea will have an interactive session with hands on demo of good Urban Permaculture
·    Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food- Hippocrates!
Home remedies & medicinal herbs in urban gardens by Smt. Kusum Dahivelkar
A retired forest officer and expert on medicinal plants in Nasik who runs a nursery called “Hirvepunya” & grows varieties of traditional herbs is also well versed in their medicinal properties.

·    Eating is an agricultural Act – Wendell Berry!
Selfcare is Healthcare is Earthcare -by Anju Venkat
Dr. Vijaya Venkat and Anju Venkat run The Health Awareness Centre (THAC) which advocates a sustainable and healthy plant based diet. They practice healing through diet and correct lifestyle choices.

End of day one with a wonderful opportunity for community cooking and eating in  the COMMUNITY KITCHEN!

Day Two: 11th December 2011 - Sunday
·    Plenty for All – Prof Dabholkar!
Assured calculated yields Natueco Farming - by C. M. Pandit  
A structural engineer by profession, he got interested in Natueco farming and Prayog Parivar, became a close associate of  Prof Dabholkar which continued for 16 years.

·    Reap what u sow!
Participants share experiences –Urban farming case studies from around India
Group discussions, brain storming, games – about community farming!

·    Field visit to urban farming setups

Day Three: 12th December 2011 – Monday - Optional
·    The Miracle Mitti!
Workshop on Amrut Mitti preparation

Venue: Maharashtra Nature Park (MNP), Mahim, Bombay, located in the heart of Mumbai which exemplifies the transition of a waste land into an urban oasis!

Incase you are not able to view the page clearly, download the pdf version of the file.

Team Urban Leaves

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Some Memorable Moments - KGI Day Celebrations Mumbai 2011

With all the excitement building up for KGI day in Mumbai and other cities, it was a little scary to see all those dark clouds building up for the famous Mumbai rains which can simply disrupt all normal life.
We had been praying for a bright sunny day on 28th August, however the rain gods had other things in mind!

Braving the flooded streets, erratic schedule of local trains and uncertainty our volunteers reached the venue in time their faces shining happily with the joy of showing off and sharing their prized harvests!As Anju Venkat later correctly observed, she was here to talk about not just a food but a special harvest which was as dear to us as were our babies!

Our group from Nana Nani Park gathered early morning at the Chowpatty, harvested the produce  and joined the rest of the gang at Maharashtra Nature Park.
The community garden at MNP awaited everyone with healthy, happy harvests... Thankfully the rains had taken a breather...while we toured the garden!

Julius leading tour at the park and explaining details...
Samir harvested corn... fully grown ....
Bharati Aunty showing off Bhindi....

Generous harvest from Preeti courtesy Mumbai Port Trust Kitchen Garden...

Visitors curiously identifying the harvest displayed on the table
brought by all our volunteers.  
The tables were adorned aesthetically and abundantly with ...
Leafy vegetables like colocasia, variety of spinach, Basella leaves.
Vegetables like ladies finger, onions, sword beans, cluster beans, pumpkins.
Herbs like tulsi, lemon grass, ajwain, basil, mint, aloe vera, beetle leaves. 
Fruits like papaya, guava, lemon, sweet lime, passion fruit, star fruit. 
Nuts and seeds like ground nut, sesame seeds. 
Flowers like Hibiscus, Champa
Thanks to Gaurang, Venkat,Bharati,Samprati and others...
It looked nothing short of a greengrocer’s full-fledged cart

 A brief talk by Uday Acharyaji on the basic purpose of celebrating the World Kitchen Day, dotted with his heart warming and disarming sense of humour brought laughter amongst all those present.

The love that gardeners all across the world share is the sight of their gardens, early morning. Oh! to be greeted by those beautiful blooming flowers, fruits and lush greens every morning. The joy spreads everywhere and to everyone....

So very aptly the session began with a beautiful song by Swati ; the words so befitting the emotions of fellow gardeners when they see their blooms first thing in the morning.

Edelwiess , Edelwiess 
Every morning you greet me
Small and white, clean and bright
you look happy to meet me.
Blossom of snow, may you bloom and grow
bloom and grow forever
Edelwiess , Edelwiess 
Bless my homeland forever....

The most awaited session by Anju Venkat from The Health Awareness Center began...
The Health Awareness center was established in 1989 by Dr Vijaya Venkat who is a pioneer in the promotion of of holistic health principles.
The  idea of having this particular session on this day was for kitchen gardeners to realize that all the love and care they pour into growing their plants and harvesting the produce can be lost if they dont utilize the same wisely. Our bodies are like plants too and food is the nourishing soil says Anju Venkat. So if we grow organic, we need to cook it organically too....

A humble attempt to reach out to all fellow gardeners with this message.....
The videos are made by our volunteers, without much professional equipment. However their content and the wise words is what we wish to share with you all....Pl do watch and hear patiently.....

The highlight of the occasion were the talk and demos by ‘Anju Venkat’, a nutritionist at the Health Awareness Centre for the last 16 years. Drawing an apt and convincing analogy between ‘Amrut mitti’ and food, she explained that health is the result of healthful living or living according to the laws of nature. She spoke about the importance of consumption of organic food and ways of cooking that would preserve its nutritive value, bring out its flavours and colours to the maximum and provide optimum nourishment. This was followed by a cookery demo conducted by her, utilizing the plant yield contributed by the volunteers.

Watch the demo.... Raw Papaya Salad

Bhindi ( Okra/lady finger ) Salad

A complete meal with.. Papaya salad, Bhindi salad, Dhokla, Raw banana cutlets, Date and tamarind chutney, herbal tea....Yummy beetlenut leaves laddos.... Never thought we can have such a dish!
The afternoon session left everyone awe-struck by the premier screening of the documentary on the ‘Urban leaves’- "Reap what you sow, eat what you grow"  filmed by Suma Josson , that would not fail to inspire anyone who watched it.

The celebration ended with a fervent group discussion eliciting from the participants not only their ideas but also assurance to carry the movement forward by spreading  awareness and educating minds about the merits of urban farming.

All in all, a highly enjoyable, gratifying, inspiring and fulfilling experience that made everyone depart in a sunny spirit despite it being one of the wettest days of the season. 

To know how our friends across India celebrated the day pl visit:

Still awaiting reports from friends in Bhopal, Nasik, Chennai and Kolkatta. Watch out for them!

Till we meet again..
Smiles and happy harvests
Urban Leaves

Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Urban Leaves organizes the first ever Urban Permaculture Course in Mumbai

Hello Friends

Urban Leaves is proud to host the first ever of its kind in India, a permaculture course-cum-workshop for urban citizens. This is an announcement that registrations are on for the Urban Permaculture course-cum-workshop from 1st -5th October 2011 at the Maharashtra Nature Park in Dharavi, Mumbai.

Permaculture or (Permanent Culture) is about designing ecological human habitats and production systems. It is about using land and building a community system, which will live in a sustainable way with the natural world around it.

This course has been designed with Mumbai in mind and how one can learn from  nature and create changes in and around our urban dwellings so we can live sustainably. The course is being conducted by international permaculture teacher Richard 'Rico' Zook.

Keeping in mind that many Urban Leaves members might not be able to give 5 days for this workshop there are two options provided for attending the course. Read more about the same and about permaculture, what will be covered in the course, registration and course fees etc. in this presentation below. You can also download this presentation and send it to anyone you think, is interested in sustainable urban living.

Urban Permaculture Course in Mumbai - Brochure
To view the brochure click on "View in Full Screen" the first left icon in tool bar below.    

Regards and Best Wishes
Urban Leaves

Sunday, 28 August 2011

A tribute to Kitchen Gardeners all over the world from Urban Leaves in Mumbai

"Reap what you sow and eat what you grow" a short film about urban community gardens in Mumbai dedicated to the kitchen gardeners around the world on the occasion of 
World Kitchen Gardeners Day.

  Happy viewing

 Team Urban Leaves

Saturday, 20 August 2011

World Kitchen Garden Day

Hello friends

Its time to rejoice and celebrate all the hard work we have put together for the last two years at our two community farms. We invite you to join us in this celebration, of " Reap what you sow, eat what you grow" World Kitchen Garden Day festival with Urban Leaves.

Our two community farms, and numerous green balcony spaces are a testimony to the fact that cities (even like MUMBAI ) and farms can co-exist! That little spaces of your window sill and balconies too can be productive.That even you can take charge of your food. That you dont get fooled by the scary talks of those in power about food security. That nature gives abundant fruit when you work in harmony! That you and your children can yet connect to nature and learn to live in sustainable cities.

Without 'you' our celebration is not complete. To all those who have been our supporters, have contributed in our successes and been with us while we struggled with our baby steps, who share our vision and wish to contribute in their own little way.... join us for a get together and an interactive friendly Sunday morning.The programme is as detailed below...

Click on image to view Programme

For those who live in other parts of India and wish to participate with the rest of the world....check out the list below to see activities in your city. Contact kitchen gardeners in your city, join them OR contact us and host an event yourself.

Mail us mailto:urbanleaves@gmail.comfor guidance or help. 

Contact Person
E mail ID
Dr Vishwanathan

Geek Gardener
Samir Kulkarni
Anshuman Das


will be updated soon
sumiba_ r@yahoo.com
Vaishali Athavle
Manju Bagga
Manisha Kavthekar
Sudha Dehadrai
Mr Khillar
Jeetubha Kutmutia

will be updated soon
Manish Jain

With cheers and smiles
Team Urban Leaves

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Garden by the Bay - Purvita's terrace garden

Walking along beach road at Chowpatty, I looked out for Bachelor’s Ice Cream Parlour, which I hadn’t been to in a long while. Locating the building I was supposed to go to, I looked up and tried to spot the house, seeing if I could get a glimpse of the terrace garden. Nothing much was visible from where I stood, and I decided to enter the building instead of standing on the road staring. Who knows, I may have been mistaken for someone staking out the place!!! Little did I know that the house itself was on the terrace of the building, and I had to climb five floors to get there! It had been a long time since I had climbed five sets of stairs, but as I huffed and puffed my way up, I couldn’t help admiring the old wooden staircase and the beautiful entrances that adorned the houses. I was welcomed by Purvita with a big smile, and we at once hit it off, even though this was the first time we had met!
Purvita has been volunteering with the Urban Leaves team for more than a year now. She not only has a beautiful terrace garden but also is leading the Community Food garden at Nana Nani Park.
I was eager to see her garden, and as she took me through her beautiful house, I wondered if I should ask her permission, to shoot her house instead, and write a post on it! However, I decided to respect her privacy, and settle with her wonderful terrace garden, which is what I had come to see in the first place!!
Purvita’s talent for aesthetics is apparent even in her terrace garden. The creepers have crept over her walls, and while that by itself can be a beautiful sight, she has managed to add another dimension simply by enhancing the spaces between the creepers with the dry seeds from her collection!

Her terrace is covered with pots and plants…..

There are plants in plastic containers and wicker basket....
There are creepers supported by wire meshes. It is a kitchen garden, growing vegetables and herbs to be used in the kitchen…

You will find Mint, varieties of Basil and Tulsi galore…
There are Aavla and Curry Leaves (kadipatta)
There is ladyfinger standing up straight, almost ready to 
be picked and green chilies, which we harvested.

An insulin plant, one leaf to be eaten everyday by 
diabetic individuals, which I had never heard of, before!

Amidst all this greenery, there was a riot of colour… The blue and white of the shanka pushpi plant (butterfly pea).. The beautiful yellow flowers of the ladyfinger...This beautiful white flower of the guava…  

There is a guava tree with a guava on the way… and a chickoo tree, Purvita prays for fruit next year!

There were also some other interesting things, which reminded me of Samhith, whom I had left behind… Some friendly, some not so friendly….like this caterpillar… the bee….and the lizard… the bug!  
Purvita also showed us some dried basil flowers, which had to be sieved through thoroughly to get the seeds…. And when we saw the size of the seeds, we were amazed at her patience that made her sit down and separate all that dried matter to get the seeds, which were practically invisible at first!!!
Purvita’s garden is like an oasis in the middle of this bustling city, and it was a wonderful experience to sit and listen to her talk about how she took a sabbatical from work, got interested in terrace farming, and didn’t go back to her job even after two years! Her dedication to the garden is not just amazing, it is also infective. You can’t just listen to her without catching some of her enthusiasm! She is all agog with her plans, helping out enthusiastically at the Nana Nani Park (which I couldn’t visit due to lack of time!), and trying to get more people to actually use their terraces for city farming. She has already made quite a few converts to the cause of healthy growing and eating, and also conducts workshops to help people get started with the concepts.
Meeting Purvita and seeing her terrace kitchen garden was an unforgettable experience, and I am looking forward to taking Samhith there someday!

Anuradha Shankar
Urban Leaves Volunteer