“Wealth is not the money we make, rather it is the health of the environment around us,” said Sangeeta Khanna, noted food and nutrition consultant. Addressing a select audience at The Imperial on the occasion of World Environment Day, Sangeeta said that she believed the secret to good health was in choosing the right ingredients and coupling them with local produce from our garden. “As people who take from the society, it is our responsibility to give back to it as well. We are living in an air conditioned bubble that is adorned with plastics and pollutants that are suffocating us slowly, yet we refuse to step out of it. We have lost control over the way we live life. We are consuming a cocktail of chemicals with a slight flavour of food on a daily basis, which is causing severe harm to our bodies,” observed Sangeeta.
One thing we can do to ensure that we are eating food full of nutrition, Sangeeta said was by growing it on our own. “Not only will it not lose its nutrition by being in transport for weeks, it will be free of pesticides as well. People don't realise how therapeutic it can be to grow a plant, watching a seed turn to a sapling and then to a full grown tree.” She says “One important thing to remember is to start by planting micro greens. They can grow entirely within three weeks!”
Sangeeta emphasised on the need to consider water consumption of plants. “You will be not be helping the environment if you grow a plant that takes up gallons of water. Cherry tomatoes are such a plant, they are preferred to be grown by most but they often fail to realise that they consume a lot of water. Rather, try growing bonsai leaves. They are much more nutritious, and take up lot less water.” She suggested that the way to maximize optimum usage was growing plants that could be used from root to tip. “Plant your everyday greens that you can use in every meal.”
Being self reliant in matters of food is important, but how do we achieve that? Startups like Khetify are helping urban dwellers to achieve self reliance. Shabnam Kapur, co-founder of Khetify said that vacant spaces in urban homes such as terraces and window sills are perfect for growing plants. “Khetify helps you through every step of the process.” said Shabnam. “We tell you which kind of plants to grow, how to grow as well as how to fertilize them.” Underling importance of involving youth, she said, “We need to be responsible in the terms of waste that we generate. Our landfills or garbage have turned into mountains that are still growing taller day by day.”