I am fascinated with gardening from the very childhood age. I have plucked different fruits and stolen various plants from the neighbouring homes, climbing trees and around in the formative years of childhood. Sometimes I did pay the price in terms of injuries while fleeing when owner of house got tried to catch us. Once I too got caught and handed over to police for stealing indoor plants from a doctor’s house to plant-in new pots, and handed me over to police, which tended me to return back the plant I stole. The same doctor found attending my gardening workshop ~13 years later and felt surprised when I narrated the story and thanked him.
My family sometimes had really hard time to face my weird nature in terms of complains and notoriety I brought to them interms of stealing plants and fruits around. Progressively my interests in biology and world of plants got deeper with age, and fortunately got chance to study biology and agriculture sciences and, work as horticulturist for state government. Growing my own food, designing numerous edible & food forest gardens , saving seeds, composting and waste management and enabling people to grow their plants and food in any space become passion and call for life. As a part of working, I always have felt great connection working with children in schools and helping schools setting up their edible gardens alike working with farmers and other clients.
Almost from last 6 years I have been posted to different locations in the state of Punjab, India, working for state horticulture department in various capacities from farm manager to extension officer, delivering services from crop production to extending & promoting departmental services for farmers’ welfare & outreach. From almost last 2 years we have been working with local schools to set-up their school edible gardens to supply fresh & chemical free produce for their mid-day meal kitchens under banner of school edible gardens. This programme has been integrated with the class room learning under the concept of mind gardens with supplying in-situ grown chemical free vegetables and produce.
When we say mind gardens, we design our gardens in such a manner that school children could imagine subjects from science to sociology, morality to mathematics, economics to environment, food to farming through our bio-mimicked designed gardens. Our gardens are beautiful in shape and patterns that children deploy their mathematical and drawing skills to carve them on ground themselves. Bringing subject of biomimicry unfolds whole new vista of experiential and practical learning before children that they can imagine biological, chemical, physical and life processes happening in nature connecting them to existing environmental and climate change crisis.
Bio-mimicked gardens have been designed taking care of local resources available with minimal maintenance & need in terms of irrigation and input needs. Further multilayered and bio-intensive planting of fruits, vegetables, flowers and herbs are being done emulating natural principles, pattern and processes under fold of design science of biomimicry. Various permutations and combinations of companion planting are being used to grow food and teaching children lessons of mutualism, team work promoting school & social harmony. Our bio-mimicked gardens ensure availability of nutrition dense range of food for schools cutting down their expenditure and saving them money to spend for quality education and nutrition.
We conduct awareness drives and classes covering range of subjects, setting up of school edible gardens and further hand holding of schools in terms of providing seeds, turning school wastage & litter into bio-fertilizers & bio-enzymes, teaching cultural practices of gardening through stories one to one and using social media. We believe space should be needed in the minds in first place to plant seed & gardens.
Planting gardens at young formative age in the minds of children could help in planting and blooming hundred thousands of real gardens progressively. This is what we are envisioning through our school edible gardens programme. Our programme could be a integral component of school classes and curricula to promote various aspects of life skills among children. Various agencies & governments are taking view of our programme to upscale and extend it in their capacities. Our school edible gardens are part of design thinking to promote various intangible things & life enriching skills using garden at every school and gardening practices as a constructive instrument and tool.
You can take detail view of our on-going programme clicking below link with attachment of programme progress, photographs and media coverage.
You can write us at below for more collaborations and convergences.