Our work requires us to be in the cities, away from nature. Here is one way you can visit lush green farms, learn organic farming, pluck fruits and bring healthy organic produce back to your house. Learn more about how Bangalore based Kavya Chandra is making green living easier for us and how you can become a farmer for a day too.
“Let the birds get the mangoes first, they tell you when they’re ready to be picked,” said the 31-year-old Kavya Chandra, as she moved further in a lush green farm near Bangalore. Over 30 kids followed Kavya and listened to her curiously.
A tiny kitten befriended the group for the entire duration of their farm trail. The kids then saw the mass movement of the butterflies above their heads and immediately figured out that the monsoon was soon approaching.
As they proceeded further, they were introduced to different species of medicinal plants and trees. The day ended with a traditional game of Lagori.
This is a regular day at A Green Venture (AGV), a Bangalore based initiative making sustainable living accessible and informative through outdoor workshops and organic farm visits.
“I was finishing my graduation in climate and sustainability when I first started kitchen gardening. I always loved nature and often tried my hands on composting. After spending a few years working for startups in this space, I wanted to go beyond that. I wanted to provide unique solutions and experiences to people. This is how A Green Venture was launched in 2016,” recalls Chandra, founder, AGV.
AGV conducts educational tours at organic farms. The ultimate goal of this humble eco-enterprise is to provide immersive learning experiences and readily available options to start natural living.
“There was a time when we would pluck fruits from the trees in our backyard, spend our summer afternoons in nearby farms, learning the basics of farming. It was a time when the term ‘organic vegetables’ was not coined. Everything we ate was fresh, chemical-free and organic by default. Today, organic means costly,” recalls Geetha, a 68-year-old gardening enthusiast from Bangalore.
Geetha recalls her childhood she wishes to experience the good old days again. This is where AGV fits perfectly.
A day in the life of organic farmers
Through its farm visits, AGV not just provides a glimpse of sustainable living but also gives an opportunity for people to become farmers themselves.
Through educational field trips for schools, families and individuals, AGV helps people connect with the real environment and learn how produce is grown without chemicals. People also discover alternatives for their kitchen, skincare, and lifestyle.
The day starts with a tour of the farm, an introduction to urban farming, hands-on learning experience, a sampling of the produce and delicious meals.
“The objective is to bring consumers directly in touch with farmers. Our educational interactive session connects people from cities to natural farms. We focus on knowledge that the farmer brings and get individuals to re-learn grassroots and basics of the source of food,” says Chandra.
AGV has a personalized itinerary according to their visitors. They handpick the farms near Bangalore.
For families individuals looking to spend a day at an organic farm, AGV explains science and environment through native and non-native varieties, fruit-picking, tree-climbing, traditional games etc.
For schools and study groups, they connect subjects and topics being taught to the natural world. They further ask questions and quiz students and make hands-on activities a priority.
For professionals, this is an outing/ off-site experience where they talk about the need for nature, tips, and clues on choosing organic in the city.
“I don’t want this to be just a recreational activity. I want it to be a learning and educational experience. All the visits are extremely detailed and well researched,” says Chandra.
In addition, AGV also offers a guided farm trail which includes beekeeping, composting, rainwater harvesting, horticulture, native cows and much more.
“It is a must-do for those interested in home gardening or natural farming or just learning all about different varieties of indigenous and exotic fruits and veggies, and how to multiply seeds at home. I loved every minute. I will definitely be back for more,” says Stuti Bhardwaj, one of the many happy clients of AGV.
The charges per farm visit are Rs 1,200 for a person aged 12 years and above and Rs. 1,000 below 12 years.
Making ‘Green’ More Accessible
For those who are unable to go for farm visits, AGV brings green closer to home. The team brings you the products from over 10 farmers across South India through a farmers market called Farm to Fork. They also organise urban gardening and composting workshops for offices, schools and housing communities.
AGV has also curated detailed material on their blog where people can understand everything about sustainability. Chandra has created an extensive list of farmers and transparent sellers in Bangalore and nearby areas where people can buy organic produce.
“I want it to be a wholesome experience. We believe in taking you through a journey of where food started, how trees grew, native and non-native species, the diversity of medicinal plants and the role of small yet significant creatures like honeybees, earthworms, cows, and wildlife at farms. To actually translate all this knowledge into impact, we provide access to organic produce,” says Kavya.
AGV has gone a step further by introducing nature-friendly hampers. The hamper has selected, homemade products keeping the planet and resources in mind. It also has goodies for the home, hearth, skin, garden etc. The hamper costs Rs 2,500 and can be bought through their website.
The interesting initiative is gradually catching the eyeballs. However, it was not an easy journey for a fresh entrepreneur like Chandra. “The biggest challenge was to make people understand what we were trying to do. The whole concept of green education is so unfamiliar,” says Chandra.
Chandra now wishes to see a change in the way students learn. She wants to take farm visits and field education to schools and make it part of the syllabus.
“I think it is extremely important to impart these values, love for nature and its basic knowledge since childhood. I want to take it to schools and if that happens, we will be able to see a bigger change,” says Kavya.
To know more about A Green Venture, check out their website. A Green Venture is organizing a special farm visit on this Independence Day. With many exclusive activities in store, you can spend the day being closer to nature. Register for it here.
Photos: A Green Venture