Who says your food should come only from the fields of rural Karnataka? The University of Agricultural Sciences, Bangalore (UAS-B), is organising a three-day Urban Krishi Mela to encourage people in cities to grow horticultural crops in their houses, using techniques such as rooftop gardening.

The university hopes to motivate people to grow vegetables and fruit-yielding plants in addition to the ornamental plants usually seen in city gardens, to ensure availability of nutritious and fresh vegetables and fruits, especially given the decline in land available for agriculture.

Speaking to presspersons here on Monday, UAS-B Vice-Chancellor K. Narayana Gowda said the Urban Krishi Mela would be held from November 3 to 5 on the university campus here.

A seminar on ‘urban horticulture and roof gardening’ is proposed to be held. Agricultural expert B.N. Vishwanath, a proponent of terrace gardening, would be the main resource person.

Dr. Vishwanath said: “We are looking at urban horticulture including terrace gardening from a holistic perspective. We do not want people to use Cauvery drinking water to take care of their plants. We are promoting the concept of rainwater harvesting to take care of plants. Similarly, we want people to turn their kitchen wastes into vermicompost.”

Using kitchen waste to grow plants would help keep the city clean by reducing the pressure on garbage disposal, he said.

He demanded that civic agencies like the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike and organisations such as the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board should lend a helping hand to urban horticulture initiatives.

Possibilities

According to Dr. Vishwanath, Bangalore city now has 500 to 1,000 terrace gardens. UAS-B Horticulture Department Head B.N. Sathyanarayana said: “It is possible to grow most vegetables required by a family in whatever small garden area and terrace space available in a house built on a 30 ft x 40 ft plot…There are people who have grown even drumstick plants in pots. But you need to replace the plants every year.”

Dr. Narayana Gowda also said the university planned to hold a global innovative farmers’ meet in February 2014, in which over 3,000 farmers were expected to participate.

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