A five-cent vacant land has been converted into a vegetable garden at Vadavalli, a city neighbourhood, by RC Coimbatore Midtown, RID 3201, with the landowner’s consent. “The fresh produce after harvest will be sold to the local residents at a reasonable cost,” says S Badrinath, member, club’s Communication Services.
Project Kitchen Garden will be supplying vegetables grown through organic farming, provide employment opportunities and promote the concept of greenery in vacant plots in Coimbatore. “Within a short time, the project has become popular with many clubs visiting our site,” he says.
Club president S Palaniappan, secretary Hari Bhaskar and other members were involved in the project which was started after fulfilling the legal formalities in December last year. Initially, the club had to contend with the clearing of wild parthenium weeds and building debris which posed a major challenge. C Srinivasan, an expert in solid and liquid resource management from Vellore, guided the Rotarians in the project implementation. “First, he helped to plant 100 varieties of greens and lettuce on this plot. With inputs from other experts, we planted other vegetables such as brinjals and tomatoes. We made it into a community effort with everyone from the locality pitching in by offering inputs such as organic manure and water,” explains Hema, spouse of Rtn Jitendra Khona. She initiated the idea of kitchen garden six months ago and it was later on taken up by Priya Palaniappan, wife of club president, with the rest of the Rotarians.
On a higher scale, such a vegetable garden will cost ₹1.5 lakh, “but it can be much less if we have a good piece of vacant land without any debris or garbage dumps on it,” says Hema. The club is planning to install a drip irrigation system at the project site soon to water the plants.
After summer, the club will be replicating the kitchen garden in other empty plots at Vadavalli and income from such organic farming will be ploughed back for the benefit of the community, she adds.
“We are glad that the land is put to beneficial use until its owner constructs a building. Otherwise, it will turn out to be a haven for anti-socials or a breeding ground for poisonous creatures,” says Badrinath.