With urban expansion, climate change, diminishing of available land, and food filled with pesticides, research on clean, sustainable and alternative farming techniques – including hydroponics and aquaponics, are becoming part of everyday discourse. Also, if organic farming offer possibilities of safe food, it is often not affordable for people.
In an experiment on the terrace of the housing society in Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, where the collaborators, Centre for Research in Alternative Farming Technologies (CRAFT) and CASP have their residences, the Urban Farming Toolkit emerged out of close conversations, conceptual drawings, found objects, and the need to create an affordable and accessible toolkit for the residents of the housing society.
An old discarded bathtub found in the society premises was transformed into an Aquaponics system on the terrace of the building. Aquaponics is the combination of aquaculture (raising fish) and hydroponics (the soil-less growing of plants) to grow fish and plants together in one integrated production system. This combination uses 1/10th of water required in soil-based gardening, and is devoid of any harmful chemicals or pesticides. Aquaponics uses a circular system of fish and plants being grown together with a single contribution of fish feed. Fish are harvested in tanks and the water is circulated to the roots of vegetables. Fish excreta serves as an organic food source for the plants, which in turn, naturally filters the water for the fish, through a bio-filter. Optimum use of scarce land, resources, and a smaller carbon footprint as food/crops is grown locally thereby lowering transportation costs makes Aquaponics or Hydroponics technologies accessible for easy adaptability.
The vegetables grown in this Toolkit were distributed equally for free to the residents of this housing society along with security personnel (who usually come from farming backgrounds), while raising awareness about safe food practices.
Facilitators: Vijay Yelmalle (Researcher and Founder, CRAFT, Navi Mumbai) and Anupam Singh (Artist, Educator, and Founder, CASP).
December 2015 to April 2016 | Open to residential members in a housing society, Kharghar, Navi Mumbai.