A Career in Urban Farming: Going Back to the Roots

Shubhangi Pandey updated on : 04 Nov 2015
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An unlikely tale of a young merchant navy officer quitting his job to become an Urban Farmer, a contemporary version of the most conventional occupation.

Marin A. Leuthard (3rd from left), Chef at Hyatt Regency (To be Guest of Honour at Terra Farms Delhi NCR launch)

 

With education, exposure and resources, we have reached an era where most of us are questioning our life choices. Even when the idea of the so-called secure job is the status-quo, there is a battalion of youth who wishes to change and chart their course to rewrite their story.

If one had seen or heard of the young man, Gaurav, hailing from Faridabad city, working as a merchant navy officer, the grass would seem to be greener on his side. Though, his questioning had not ended as he thought that this was not really what he was cut out for. Stumbling into a new phase of life there came a time when he called it quits, with no clue whatsoever, that what he would do next would be one of the most conventional jobs ever!

It was then, that he came across Linesh Pillai, co-founder, Terra Farms, who calls himself an ‘Urban Farmer’. Linesh, who himself was an investment banker earlier, introduced the concept of ‘micro green farming’ to Gaurav. He runs the first Urban Vertical Farm, in Manori, Malad, is only 450 sq ft and produces 40 kgs of fresh greens every week without the use or pesticides or fertilizers.

Gaurav, intrigued and excited by this concept, decided to carry forward the channel to grow these farms beyond Mumbai and reach out to a larger number of consumers and buyers. It was his nascent yet, big move towards becoming an entrepreneur.

"Zero Mile Diet"

Urban farming with micro greens encourages the ‘grow your own food’ concept. The ‘Terra Farms’ team believes that this could be a one of the possible solutions to many of our ‘food related’ problems.

Terra Farms team are coming from the thought that, with the growing urbanization and the increasing pressure on our logistics, we are soon going to face a direct threat for our food supplies. Amidst the growing dependency on added supplements and multivitamins, 'Terra farms' aims at training our next generation to sustain itself by introducing the concept of "grow to eat".

Schools and other institutes can participate in the movement by training their students to grow and eat. Growing microgreens is much less cumbersome due to its short growth cycle and hence, is more likely to motivate kids to participate in the activity and give them a much more rewarding experience.

As told to HTCampus, the team aims at introducing the idea of "Zero Mile Diet" which means that your food doesn’t have to travel and pass through several stages of the supply chain so that the food does not lose its nutritional value, making healthy food options easily accessible. Their vision is to bring back nutrition in every family’s meal without the use of supplements. For this, they wish to inculcate food security as a responsibility of every household.

ARS (Agricultural Research Service) scientists analysed key nutrients in different varieties of microgreens and found that they possessed 4 to 40 times more nutrients than any vegetable grown and sold in the market.

 

 

Delhi NCR Launch

With Gaurav Sharma introducing Terra Farms in the NCR, India is to see its first urban vertical rooftop farm. An ‘Urban Vertical Farm’ could use backyards and unused (dead) urban spaces and convert them into food gardens which thrive with fresh and ready to use ingredients. The farm will be set open for buyers and clients, after its launch on the 6th of November 2015 in Faridabad. He is inviting schools, corporate set ups and hotels to introduce them to microgreen activation.

Chef Sanjeev Kapoor (Left) keen on growing Microgreens

 

Microgreens making way to top Chefs’ kitchens!

Microgreens is emerging as a new favourite finding of chefs, who are using it to enhance their preparations. Used as an ingredient to add flavour or merely as a garnish, microgreens, is being preferred as a holistic addition to a dish.  

How to grow Microgreens?

One can buy readily available Terra farms-Growkit and grow these’ Superfood-Microgreens’ in one’s own kitchen/home. They can be fun, decorative, good for your air quality and holistically rewarding.

Process:

Open the lid and water it and they would spring to life within 7 to 10 days.

Variety Available:

  • Green Amaranth
  • Fenugreek
  • Spinach
  • Lettuce
  • Coriander, etc.

For Microgreens Grow-kit enquiries:

gaurav@terrafarmsindia.org

+91 90155 33337.

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