Help This Urban Farmer Feed Old Age Homes Through His Hydroponic Farm

By TheBetterIndia on 31 Aug 2017 | read

Ever wondered what it would be like to grow your vegetables at home? One might looked puzzled and say, “Sure! But in an urban setting? Is there even enough space?”

Well, one program manager based in Singapore is on a mission to change the concept of traditional agriculture by practicing hydroponic farming on unused spacious rooftops.

hydroponic farm- old age homes- Srihari KanchalaSource: Milaap

“Urban farming seemed to be the best option not only to promote locally grown vegetables and fruits but also utilize unused open spaces, in the concrete jungle that the cities have turned into,” says Srihari

Hydroponics is a subset of hydroculture. It is a method of growing plants using mineral nutrient solutions in water. These plants grow directly in water and require no soil. The two important factors to be controlled include the nutrients in the water, as well as the air temperature. Even though the effort one has to put in is double than that of outdoor agriculture, the method allows an urban farmer to grow veggies efficiently year-round.

This method of farming uses water and space efficiently. Most experts deem it the ultimate future of farming.

Well, no! You can trace the history of urban agriculture to 3,500 BC when Mesopotamian farmers set aside plots in their growing cities to carry out farming. During World War II, urban farmers had what came to be called ‘victory gardens’ that produced crops to feed underprivileged neighborhoods too. One of the prime reasons for the implementation of this concept is the lack of clean produce. It is expected to pick up pace in India.

Speaking about the inspiration behind Urban Chennai, Srihari told Milaap, “One of the biggest examples of the urban citizens helping each other during crisis was Chennai floods. That inspired me to do something and contribute back to the society.”

The idea behind the initiative is to encourage and promote small communities to grow healthy fruits and vegetables locally. “I believe that food brings people closer, which in turn brings communities together,” he says.

Srihari has received financial support from his relatives. The financial supporters include his retired father, Mr. Gopikrishnan, his father-in-law, Mr. Chandrasekaran and his cousin, Mr. Sreevatsava, all of whom are based in Chennai.

Srihari’s goal is to help apartments, gated communities, and corporate offices with large terrace spaces join hands and grow healthier vegetables, not only for their personal use but also share what’s left with underprivileged communities that can’t afford meals.

The financial capital investment for hydroponics even though on the higher end of the scale, is
cost effective and energy efficient. It can provide more yields, ensuring surplus locally grown produce at a lesser cost.

Charity and experiments, all begin at home. So, Srihari wants to start this project by transforming 1,000 sqft of his family rooftop and convert it into a model urban farm and community space.

This urban farm will grow vegetables such as tomatoes, brinjals, capsicums and greens like spinach and lettuces. In addition, a lot of herbs like basil, fenugreek, coriander, and curry leaves will also be grown.

“I see this project as a means of bringing huge difference. The whole thing seems more personal and fulfilling,” he says.

You can help Srihari realise his dream, add green to the city and help senior citizens too. Follow this link to make a contribution.