Urban Leaves India: April 2011

Friday 15 April 2011

Urban Leaves Summer Camp for children

      Curiosity is our teacher, Experiment our learning,

 Experience our Feedback

                                             Photo  Courtesy Anuradha Shankar

In our urban lifestyles, our children have lost touch with their earth, their soil and their food.For them, the milkman gives them milk and all vegetables can be bought at the supermarkets all the year round.

Our lives are getting caught up in this automated world. We struggle to control our environment to suit our mechanical lifestyle. In our struggle to control our environment, under the pretext of food security, we land up eating food that comes half way across the world and is labelled as 'healthy', 'nutritious' and 'fat free'.

Does it not make sense to go closer to nature by making it part of our urban lifestyle?
It  is our endeavour at Urban Leaves to learn, share and grow the free gifts and joys of nature, to create an ocean of greenery in the city sheerly by tuning ourselves to the harmony of nature. Such involvement can liberate our minds from the clutter of day to day 'jobs' that we need to do in this urban world just for our survival.

The simple act of harvesting our own food, teaches us that true joy lies in simple pleasures that are spontaneous, natural and humane. Children are most sensitive to such joys, and they deserve to be exposed to nature to learn the magic of creation by the hands on experience of building their own sustainable farms.

For the first time, Urban Leaves announces their Summer Camp for children. Help us to share

 Activities :

1.    Compost kitchen waste
2.    Make nutrient rich soil  called Amrut Mitti
3.    Plant a veggie, and a butterfly garden
4.    Nature trail - Know your trees, birds, butterflies, insects, etc
5.    Create wetlands / fish tank
6.    Make self watering cans
7.    Plant a herb and learn about medicinal plants / home remedies
8.    Mosquito control without using chemicals
9.    Nature poetry / stories
10. Fun with bird names - anagrams
11. Build trellises, drip irrigation
12. Re-cycle kitchen /wash basin water
13. Know your seeds / masala ingredients


Maharshtra Nature Park,
Opp Dharavi Bus Depot,

Timing : 8 am to 10 am

Duration :  
1st Batch : 1st May to 7th May 
2nd Batch : 8th May to 14th May 
3rd Batch : 29th th May to 7th June

Fees : Rs 1200/- per head

Click here
 to register online for the workshop, write to urbanleaves@gmail.com
Request fees be paid in advance in cash or cheque.
Cash may be directly paid to Purvita at Chowpatty,
Cheques favoring ‘Vidya Vaaridhi Trust’ may be couriered to Uday Acharya at Vidya Varidhi Trust, A-101 Mani Bhavan, 11th Road, Chembur Mumbai 400071.
Warm Regards

The Team
Urban Leaves

Tuesday 12 April 2011

Small steps of joyful progress at MNP

Remember the Brinjal which had caught aphids infection? We had simply pruned the affected parts of the plant and allowed it to grow. See the abundance now. Now you will wonder why aphids after using Amrut Mitti? Well, first of all the sapling was planted in freshly made Amrut Mitti. So there are chances of a little pest attack , in such situations.As the Mitti matures these problems are almost negligible. Secondly the sunlight available to this plant in the winter months was just for an hour or two.. Now with the advent of summer and the sun changing its path, this patch receives sunlight for about 4- 5 hrs and we see the difference! 

Brinjal on the small tank.

Now on the upper tank, heaps are progressing and its time to cut 
the greens and recycle them back in the compost.
21 day growth
One big heap made earlier was ready for plantation. We decided to plant " Papdi": flat green 
beans in it.So three small saplings at a distance of 1 ft from each other were planted.
 seeds had been sown earlier on the full moon day. 
Now as this was a freshly made heap we made these three small wells  in the
 heap and added one year old Amrut Mitti in it. Then planted the saplings. 
Mulched the heap.
Now all we needed was to prepare for the trellis as these creepers would be growing
 all over the place soon.
Julius bought some second hand slaughted angles and we fabricated the trellis!

The corn is growing soo well! Waiting for the cobs soon!
This is the Italian Basil! Awesome flavour!
Mints vigour is wonderful!
This is the spear mint!

Slow and steady the farm is getting productive! 
I wait for the day when all our volunteers can grow their  own vegetables and enjoy the
 sweet fruits of their labour.

Cheers and smiles
Urban Leaves team

Monday 11 April 2011

First Plantation at Nana Nani Park – 8th April, 2011

A small group of enthusiastic volunteers was present for this activity. We were all very excited as after all the pains we had taken to lovingly build Amrut Mitti for over a period of 4 months were were finally going to plant something ! We had great fun planting saplings in the  Amrut Mitti raised bed. 

Situated right in the heart of South Mumbai, this truly is going to be an Urban Farm. Come have a look......

Two beds can be seen in the image above. The group image with newly planted saplings on right bed and another bed ready on left for planting beans. Ubai is taking the photograph, so is not visible, but he is the core member, pl note

Bitter gourd  and Cucumber saplings are arranged in a row maintaining a clear distance as required.

Mr. Roy, owns a farm at Karjat (left image) and Mr. Joshi (right image) are the most sincere and dedicated members at NNP. They take full responsibility to water the plants every morning at the farm. Thanks to them that I donot visit the park each and everyday.

Manisha from Marine Lines, an active NGO group member fighting to reclaim the Society Park to initiate an Urban Farm 

Vipul, comes from Sion for the first plantation. Should admit, he is the guy who has been present for all the major activity at the park. Thanks Vipul. 

Appreciating the work done for the day. 

Meeting once again on Tuesday - 12th April to build a trellis for these creepers. All are invited at 7:30 am. This is going to be hard work too. We are building a ten feet tall trellis covering both the beds.
Finally the trellis is ready..... click to view the creepers happily climbing the trellis 

View the Photo Gallery of the first harvest at NNP - May 11

Cheers and smiles
Volunteer Urban Leaves

Tuesday 5 April 2011

Come join us for the first plantation in Amrut Mitti at Nana Nani Park

Hello all..... want to share this divine moment with you all  The initial 5 beds of AM are ready now for planting. The soil is awesome..... dark brown and fine texture..... 

Today we met at NNP (Ubai, Mr. Joshi and Mr. Roy, Manisha and me). We have combined these five beds to make a single long one.

I have the saplings of all creepers which are going to be planted in the fresh Amrut Mitti  on Friday – 8 April 11 at 7:30 am onwards. On this day we will also discuss how to build the trellis so that these creepers can climb to grow and give us the fruit in next couple of months.

Come and share the pleasure..... on 8th April 11 at 7:30 am, Nana Nani Park, Chowpatty. View the progress - Part II