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Mali & me

DECCAN CHRONICLE. | MOUMITA BASU
Published Jul 3, 2017, 12:17 am IST
Updated Jul 3, 2017, 12:17 am IST
This city-based initiative is giving houses green spaces...
The Urban Mali at work.
 The Urban Mali at work.

Crammed spaces, concrete jungles, and out of touch with nature — while many urban citizens are struggling with life in a metro, a social enterprise in Bengaluru has found a solution to help people set up their personal green spaces. Started in July 2015, Urban Mali provides services to set up gardens in Bengaluru, by using native plants. Behind this green thought is Vandana Krishnamurthy, 33, who completed her masters and PhD in Botany and decided to give back to the city she lived in. Today, she has helped set up around 75 gardens in the city, including those in balconies and terraces.

After getting married, Vandana moved into a house where the previous tenants had left unused pots and some plants. One day while eating, she dropped a tomato seed into a pot from her plate. And to her surprise, it grew into a plant in a weeks’ time, much to her surprise, as she didn’t have a green thumb at all.

 

“That was the turning point. The city is expanding and garden spaces are vanishing. As the tomato plant grew, I understood what a huge impact it can make to our city.  The one tomato seed is the reason why Urban Mali exists,” Vandana explains.

To set up a garden of your own choice, Urban Mali steps in, does a site visit and then gardeners come and set up a garden for you. What makes this initiative even more apt is that most of the gardeners are farmers better acquainted with plants and nature.

The plants used by Urban Mali are local varieties well suited to the soil and climate. They are also completely organic in nature, “We ensure that we are using fertilisers that are organic. We have a lot of chemicals breathing inside us anyway. We don’t need more,” says Vandana.

The enterprise has two teams of gardeners and a dedicated maintenance team as well and a minimum green space costs atleast `5,000.

“I think everyone should be able to set up their own gardens. Just get creative — you can go vertical, you can hang plants, there are so many different ways in which you can grow plants. And it is one of the most rewarding experiences ever,” concludes Vandana.

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