Food

Rent-a-farm: Watch how this firm is helping city dwellers grow food

Delhi-based start-up, Edible Routes, is helping people bring closer to their food and instilling a greater sense of well-being

 
Published: Tuesday 27 October 2020

Is it possible for an urban dweller to produce his / her food? Or at least get a proper sense of how food is grown? How would s / he till the soil? Take out the weeds, plant the seeds, see the crop grow and finally harvest it?

Most people living in megacities in India have very little or almost no connection to how their food is produced. But a Delhi-based agricultural start-up has been allowing city-dwellers to do just that. The start-up, Edible Routes, allows people to take a small plot of land on rent and grow their own food.

Kapil Mandawewala founded the company in 2015; initially he would help people grow organic food in their homes, balconies and on terraces. In 2018, in an expansion to the project, he started Farmlet that allowed consumers to directly grow their food on a plot of land.

The act of growing one’s own food has had a transformative effect on people, according to Kapil. Many felt the practice was healthy and chemical-free, which brought a greater sense of well-being to them. It also made them recognise day-to-day environmental changes, thereby augmenting their understanding of the effects of climate change.

Edible Routes take a large farm on lease and creates multiple mini-farms of various sizes. They then sublet it to customers who can rent them on a monthly subscription basis.

One can rent a mini-farm of 1,200-2,400 square feet depending on the number of family members and their food requirement. A mini-farm of 1,200 sq feet is sufficient to grow vegetables for a family of three-four people.

Edible Routes employs skilled farm labourers who help farm-letters grow the crops. They also take care of the plants in their absence. A farm-letter can visit the farm to look after their crops as many times as s / he likes, for the idea is constant engagement with the crops. Kapil recommends they do it once a week or at least twice a month.

Farm-letters are encouraged to get involved in activities such as sowing, taking care of the plants and harvesting. A customer can also get the harvest delivered to their home, but the idea is to take part in the activity.

More and more people have been joining the farmlet venture after the restrictions to control the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) spread were eased.

The farmlet venture is a novel way of allowing city dwellers to connect with their food. For those with a green thumb or who want to be weekend farmers, this is the right avenue to explore — and to eat healthy, chemical-free food in return.

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