CHENNAI: An IIM-Bangalore graduate decided to leave his career behind and start farming after he stumbled upon farmers’ suicide and droughts prevailing in the country. Today, Sunil Jose, the man behind hydrobloom.in, is known in the city as the man who designed and installed vertical gardens at MG Road Metro station.
Jose said, “After 18 years in the corporate world, I went through a period of self-realisation. I wanted to do something that would have a wider impact and understanding to oneself and to others. A small academic project and a technology firm led me to study the impact of famine, drought and farmers’ suicide. While, I was thinking of a framework to educate and create awareness on how to control finances (micro finance) during difficult times, I came across hydroponics.’’
It is a science of not using soil to grow plants. It involves growing healthy plants without the use of a traditional soil medium, and by using nutrient like mineral-rich water solution instead.
A plant just needs selected nutrients, some water, and sunlight to grow. Not only do plants grow without soil, they often grow a lot better with their roots in water. And vertical farming is a part of it as it aims to use less space and grow crops vertically.
Hoses circulate mineral-rich nutrients to the roots of whatever you’re growing. Hydroponics does not use any soil; the roots of the plants are supported using an inert medium such as clay pellets. Hydroponics is a replacement to traditional farming methods.
“It is an alternative to conventional farming, and a more organised farming concept with a wider impact on society. It helps reduce the last food mile in all major towns and cities,” says Jose.
Growing plants using this method helps to boost growth of both plants and humans. Indoor and greenhouse cultures are protected from plagues as hydroponics gives us a pesticide-free produce and creates 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. Hydroponic fodder can be a boon for people living in famine-hit areas where cattle is dying.