Swachagraha Compost Connect, Bengaluru Spearheading Composting Initiatives and Connect with Farming Communities
Swacha Graha Compost Connect (SGCC) conceived by Solid Waste Management Round Table (SWMRT), Bengaluru, to help compost-producing apartments/gated communities connect with farmers in and around Bangalore. This is with the sole intention of sending the precious organic waste coming out of our kitchens and gardens back to the soil in the form of compost.
Recycling the priceless biomass back to the soil is a dream comes true for SWMRT. There were many composting initiatives across apartments but lack of connecting with the farming community posed roadblocks and the conversation ended where it started. SWMRT decided to create pathways and got the help from noted activist Vasu of SOIL who instantly supplied them with contacts of 10-12 farmers. And then, it just took off the ground says Savita Hiremath.
Now they are connected with organic farmers from Kolar, Chinthamani, Mulabagilu, Ramanagara, and Anekal. Savita goes on to say that initially they were very apprehensive about the heavy metal contamination in the compost, cost per kg of compost, whether they contain high quantities of weed seeds and that it eventually becomes a labor-intensive exercise for us? Whether there was a possibility of selling our organic grocery, fruits, and vegetable to a community and load up compost from the same spot on our way back?
She recently mentioned A FANTASTIC 12-SEC SUCCESS STORY of Chickammani Amma from Ramanagara who is full-of-energy and a graceful farmer! She was into chemical farming earlier, but now going hammer and tongs at organic farming!
She says, "We have fed the compost given by SWACHA GRAHA COMPOST CONNECT and here's ragi grown in half an acre of land. Look at how our Ragi has grown. Do send us your compost like this. We will do farming and grow the food for you. She expresses her thanks to the connect." This is a farm in Ramanagara, about 50 km away from the city. An apartment gave away its compost for free to Beru organization which is trying to take 12-13 farmers in that area on the right path by shunning hazardous chemical farming. Savita had earlier mentioned about the 270 bags of compost from Mantri Alpyne apartment, located in BSK 5th Stage, being sent to a farm in Kunigal and Farmer Kiran using it for his small farm to grow a variety of vegetables.
The Editor Dr Lakshmi Unnithan, Agriculture World had a talk with some farmers who are using the Swacha Graha Compost and they spoke high about the Quality. Kiran Jayaraj owns an acre of land in Kunigal, Tumkur District, Karnataka. He is experimenting by growing veggies and herbs without the use of organic pesticides. Kunigal is a warm region when compared to Bangalore and so he is checking on what can be grown in his place regularly. So far, he has grown about 15-17 vegetables and greens using this method and he hopes to launch his products by next year.
ibOrganic has its farmland in & around Neelamangala, 40km form Bangalore City. We have been growing Organic Veg & Greens for over three years now says Bhaskar who owns 5 acres and was a Computer Engineer in US and has returned to India for good and has started the Organic Collective. When it comes to compost, they use farmyard manure for their farms initially but they always thought they needed something better. That's when they were introduced to Swacha Graha Compost Connect that worked towards connecting urban compost producers from apartments and gated communities with farmers in and around Bengaluru.
SGCC educates apartment communities in converting precious organic waste coming out of urban kitchens and gardens back to the soil in the form of nutritious compost (Black Gold), thereby closing the loop in the most beautiful way possible. On a weekly basis, the Black Gold is picked from the apartments, cured in their farms for 30-45 days, and then distributed to their farmers. Farmers use this compost to enhance the soil and the veggies grown are served back to the same apartments thereby creating an ecosystem between the consumers and farmers.
Savita again mentions about TENESIRI is an organization associated with farmers in Nanjangud who grow fruits and veggies organically in her Facebook post. They also have farmers in Coorg who grow organic avocados and a few other types of fruits & spices. There are other farmers who grow regular veggies in Chikkaballapur & Hoskote area. Every Tuesday, fruits and veggies come to Bangalore from Nanjangud. They are currently delivering in RT Nagar and Bellandur areas. Tenesiri ensures fair price to farmers as it reaches the consumers directly. They also pick up 1400 kg of compost on their way back through SGCC Network.
Rachana Reddy of Hema Farms also mentions about using Swacha Graha Compost in her farms. To heal damaged lands, these composts are easy on the pocket also, otherwise soil is going to cost them a lot. The only thing worth mentioning here is make sure you get completely cured compost .As there are many flats who contribute to the cause, a visit to these places to ensure about the quality of compost is worth mentioning.
Isn't it a joy to hear such stories. Swachagraha Compost Connect (SGCC) is playing a small but significant role in these beautiful stories.