Learn seed saving at this workshop in Bandra

Updated: Mar 08, 2019, 09:00 IST | Suman Mahfuz Quazi

Arm yourself with the traditional knowledge of seed saving and plant diversity at this workshop

Learn seed saving at this workshop in Bandra
(From left) Hemant Khosla, Premila Pariera and Preeti Patel - members of the core team at Urban Leaves

Most of us youngsters are the poster children for all of the woke world's "isms". So, it may appear that we are championing the cause of environmentalism. While this might be true to some extent, Preeti Patel has a different story to tell.

"The majority of our sustained volunteers are in their 40s and seldom do we have young people attending our workshops," laments Patel, a catering officer with the Mumbai Port Trust (MPT) who founded Urban Leaves in 2009, an initiative that seeks to create awareness on food safety-related issues.

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Freshly plucked veggies

Twenty years ago, in order to recycle waste generated at the central kitchen of the MPT, which caters to the organisation's departmental canteens, Patel started a small garden on the cookhouse's rooftop. "When I saw it flourish into a beautiful forest, I thought of taking the initiative outside MPT and to those who wanted to learn," she recalls while speaking about an upcoming workshop titled Vegetable Diversity and Seed-Saving Techniques, which the group will host.

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Patel and her team conduct talks and workshops in order to fuel their endeavour of acquainting the uninitiated with the myriad issues the country is facing in the agricultural sector. The loss of homegrown seeds and depletion of desi varieties of veggies, Patel tells us, is a primary concern, aggravated by the supremacy of MNCs. "A local seed reaps the best harvest, in terms of plant health. However, their circulation is less vis-a-vis the supply of genetically modified variants, which is what the government is trying to push into our food systems and the MNCs are controlling," she points out, explaining why seed saving is the need of the hour. "It is our wealth and the traditional knowledge of saving your own seeds can be empowering," she shares.

But what is seed saving? How to save a them? Which seeds to save and what is the best time to do so? These are questions that newbies are likely to struggle with. So, on Sunday, Patel is hoping to assist enthusiasts and encourage them to participate in community farming by having these questions answered. The workshop will be conducted by Deepika Kundaji who has worked in organic farming at the Pebble Garden, a farm in Auroville, for 30 years.

AT St Andrew's College, St Dominic Road, Bandra West
ON March 10, 9 am to 1.30 pm
LOG ON TO urbanleaves.org
COST Rs 1,200

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