Mr Ganesh Kulkarni is a librarian at Sant Savta Mali Gramin Mahavidyalaya in Phulambri taluka, Aurangabad, Maharashtra.
In 2016, he took up gardening as a hobby. Starting with a rose bush that died even though he tried looking after it, Ganesh realised his need for guidance from other growers though he knew none around him.
Eventually deciding to take to the internet, he ended up finding urban farming and terrace gardening groups on social media. Finding a space where his verbal and photo-supported queries were being answered, Ganesh got to learn not just about a variety of plants he could grow but also experimented with remedies for pest control, composting and vermi-composting techniques.
As he expanded his knowledge and garden, he realised that his large terrace garden was straining the structural integrity of his home and so, with the help of an architect he designed the roof walls with permanent ‘pits’ to house a number of plants, supplementing the existing layout of growing bags and pots.
At present, Mr Kulkarni grows around 200 varieties of fruits, vegetables and flowers in his 800 sq ft terrace garden; 300 sq ft of which, is dedicated towards composting. Vegetables are planted fortnightly and the garden produce is consumed by his family of 4.
Recognising the importance of urban farming and the need for communal awareness and involvement, Mr Kulkarni is doing much more.
He started growing medicinal and edible plants in the campus of the educational institute he works at. He set up ‘Green Trust’, an NGO that engages volunteers to plant saplings in and around campus, and mentors newcomers via Whatsapp groups, encouraging kitchen gardens for food crops.
“Gardening has given me friends in different parts of India and the confidence to become part of an urban green revolution,” he said during an interview.