Knock, Knock: You've got organic goodies

Entrepreneur Mana Chatterjee (40) admits that she wasn’t a very eco-friendly person in her growing up years. Yet, now that the single mother has children of her own — Avi (12) and Durga (6), she feels the need to do her bit to save the planet for coming generations.

School students tending to a square feet garden

In the process, she started the website Mumbai Goes Green a year ago, a one-stop shop for eco-friendly products. Their range includes leaf plates made from naturally shed leaves of tropical trees (Rs 3 onwards), mud idols of Ganesha (Rs 700 onwards), terracotta composters (Rs 1,600) to convert domestic waste into manure, body care products such as body scrub and organic soap, organic food products such as bajra khakra and backpack bags (Rs 100).

They also stock biodegradable plastic bags (Rs 225 per kilo), books, eco-friendly Holi colours and planters (Rs 2,750) to grow plants on your railings. Stationery lovers can check out their handmade paper jewellery boxes (Rs 650), notebooks (Rs 225) and gift tags (Rs 50). The products are sourced locally from villages and help traditional artisans and farmers get a fair deal.

Candles and soap hamper

In June this year, Mumbai Goes Green will also set up their first outlet in Colaba. Presently, they operate out of their office in Sion and courier goods across the city.  The Mumbai Goes Green initiative is thanks to a partnership with the Hyderabad Goes Green movement, a nationwide initiative devised by IITians Abhinav Gangumalla and Santosh Banpur. There are plans to extend the movement to Ahmedabad. 

Explaining the trigger-point behind starting Mumbai Goes Green, Chatterjee explains, “I saw the 2006 documentary An Inconvenient Truth by Al Gore and it shook me. I underwent training sessions with them on global warming and did presentations in schools on the topic. Then, I visited Auroville for a green practice conference. I began to think about what I could do for the city. I realised that people wanted reasonably priced alternatives to shift to a greener way of life. I pooled my savings to start Mumbai Goes Green.”

Apart from products, the website (that Chatterjee runs with team members Anil Ranglani and Bharat Nimbalkar) has also ensured that solar lighting systems have been set up in two villages across Maharashtra.

“We teach people how to generate compost at home and set up square feet gardens to grow vegetables at homes and offices, which is a boon in a crowded city like Mumbai,” she states, reiterating that organic gardening is a skill for life. “It’s alarming that we have lost our connection with nature. Such practices helps people reconnect, conserve the environmentand offer affordable alternatives during times of inflation.”

Chatterjee believes that the best way to make a point is to be the change, “Now that I have started following green practices, my daughter also gets involved. This is not about generating fast money but about creating a change in mindset.”

Fruit and Aromatic Plants Fest
Go Green Nursery at Panvel will host a fruit and aromatic plants fest. A variety of fruit and aromatic plants including 15 varieties of mango, six varieties of coconut, four varieties of lemon as well as flowers such as Lemon Grass, Citronella, Nishigandha and Sonchafa, will be on sale.

Did You Know?
>> 86% of ocean debris is plastic
>>  Over 1,000,000 seabirds and marine mammals die each year from plastic ingestion of entanglement
>>  Nearly 4,500 tonnes of garbage are generated in the city daily that can easily be turned into manure and used to grow organic vegetables 

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