Written by 4:43 pm Amazine

Growing plants without soil

Why would a 47-year-old alumnus of a prestigious management institute quit his full-time job to cultivate plants?

After leading a corporate life for 18 years, I went through a period of self-realisation when I wanted to do something that would have a wider impact and understanding to oneself and to others.  I wouldn’t have believed if anyone suggested during my IIM days that I would eventually choose farming as my passion. It all started with a social project on farmer’s suicides on possible solutions that I stumbled upon hydroponics (growing plants without soil) and since then I have been evangelising this green concept across country.

What is hydroponics? It’s an alternative to sustainable farming that use less water, pesticide free and can be grown in less space vertically with increased growth. Herbs, vegetables and flowers can be grown using hydroponics.

It is an alternative to conventional farming — a more organised farm to fork concept with a wider impact on society. It will help to reduce the last food mile in all major towns and cities. The food is healthier as its grown indoor and greenhouse cultures are more protected from diseases.

Hydroponics gives us pesticide-free produce and creates a long term sustainable ecosystem. A hydroponic culture can grow two to three times faster than a traditional one. You can convert small vertical spaces in your balconies and gardens; the public can be taught to naturally grow medicinal plants at home that can cure 80 per cent of modern day ailments.

Hydroponics is an excellent alternative to fodder in drought struck areas. The hydroponic fodder machine created a mini revolution in Telangana village. I was approached by a local politician who had lost three elections and I had supplied machines to help the drought struck farmers, only to find after a few months the machines were left untouched. It took a young curious boy who dropped a mustard seed to see the growth and villagers readily lapped it up. Faith is like the mustard seed that needs hope, prayers and care.

We have installed world’s first hydroponics vertical metro towers at Bangalore Metro Pillar with plants that helped reduce and eliminate a number of dangerous chemicals. These plants can reduce levels of these chemicals between 50% and 80% within a 24 hour time frame. I am keen to inculcate the triple bottom line to all corporate sectors — people, planet and profit.

Does this all still seem undoable? Think of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon that used this method.

By Sunil Jose

Benguluru knows  Sunil Jose as the entrepreneur who designed and implemented vertical gardens on MG Road’s metro pillar. Sunil educates farmers on how to plant herbs and vegetables vertically, in a relatively smaller space. His family – his wife Reena, son Aarya and twins Neysa & Nihal – shares his passion for smart farming. Read more about his work here: www.hydrobloom.in


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