Rooftop cultivation - The New Indian Express

Rooftop cultivation

Published: 08th February 2010 11:18 PM

Last Updated: 16th May 2012 01:33 PM

If there was one thing banker-turned-environmentalist M B Nirmal would change about Chennai, it would be the way Chennaiites treated waste. And he means that quite literally. For, this founder of Exnora International believes that waste is not waste until it is wasted. So when people began recycling waste in compost pits, the next question was obvious — How do we use this compost? And thus was born the idea of sky farming.

But where is the space, one might ask. Says Nirmal, “All you need is space in your heart and you will automatically find space in your house.” He further adds, “The concept behind sky farming is simple. The idea was born 10 years ago. One of the major threats facing agriculture is land depletion. Today, land is being grabbed and converted into housing complexes. So I thought, why not reach out to the skies instead. We chose to take farming to the terraces of buildings and hence the term sky farming.”

As space is a constraint in vertical farming, Exnora has come up with several innovative methods such as zigzag, pole, hook, pipe, pot and stand. Now comes the question of watering these plants. And Nirmal has a solution to that too. “At our office, we recycle all the water that comes in. We don’t use a basin to wash our hands in but instead wash into a pot. This water is reused. So is the water from the air cooler,” he says.

You can munch on your home-grown veggies in a couple of weeks. And it is cost-effective too.

Visit to learn how you can cultivate your own sky farm.

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