Oota From Your Thota (OFYT) is a perfect phrase. It captures so much about Bengaluru — mingling of languages, aspirations to grow and eat fresh food from your garden, harking back to the Garden City, multi-pronged efforts towards the revival of that green status. It is also a great encouragement to get green-thumbed. It is becoming clearer that the idea of sustainable living, eating safe, knowing what you consume and put back into your planet have caught people’s imagination and attention.
The 16 edition of OFYT, the organic gardening fair, hosted by the Garden City Farmers, was geared up towards the enthusiastic urban gardeners and farmers in the city — what to grow, how to grow, in what to grow, how to make sure your garden is watered when you’re at work or away on vacation, how to make your own compost from your kitchen waste and in the process save your city from garbage, how to deal with pesky pests without spraying chemicals on the brinjals and tomatoes…the possibilities and ideas were endless, and neatly interlinked.
A whole lot of “smart” technology-driven solutions were on offer for inhabitants of the IT city — self-watering systems being the most common. New-age young enterprises with names such as Hariyalee, GreenMyLife, Soil And Soul, Brics, iGrow, TechMaali rubbed shoulders with the traditional Sri Krishna Farm & Nursery.
It was heartening to see, yet again, that this initiative brings out people in hoards, who braved the blazing sun to cart back pots, coir and coco peat blocks, saplings, seeds, watering cans, cloth bags, and organic manure, all in the hope of a good harvest. The number of organisations offering to set up a farm or garden in your house was amazing!
Inquisitive questions, from those in the know, and patient explanations for the uninitiated, seed exchanges, and information exchanges were aplenty. The terrace garden display attracted a whole lot of people who wanted to know how they could replicate it at home — anyone would, seeing the kind of brinjals, cabbage, and tomatoes on display to prove you don’t really need a backyard or a farm on the outskirts of the city to grow your grub. Organic foods — desi cow milk, sweets, and buttermilk, cold pressed seed and nut oils, homemade jams and preserves, sherbets of roots and fruits, pizzas and breads, cakes and bisi bele bhath made from millets, all-natural ice-creams — were tantalisingly on offer.