story by. Jarna Virani Devnani | ©harish devnani photography 2015
'Mina Vekaria, a loving and inspiring lady, who believes that if she is breathing and taking in oxygen from Mother Nature, it is her moral obligation to grow enough green plants to pay back what she is using.
With pesticides and chemicals leeching into our fertile soil, with GM food experiments and food adulteration everywhere, it is getting more and more difficult to get good quality, safe, organic food that will nourish not only the body but also the soul and thoughts.
At such a time, becoming self-sufficient and growing our own food can be a path to freedom. So, on the 69th independence day of our beautiful country, we visited Mina Vekaria, a loving and inspiring lady in Rajkot, Gujarat. She believes that if she is breathing and taking in oxygen from Mother Nature, it is her moral obligation to grow enough green plants to pay back what she is using. She strongly believes in the rejuvenating power of Mother Nature and has been experimenting with gardening since childhood. She has grown up seeing her grandmother growing plants and that has got her naturally inclined to grow her own food.
When we talk about growing our own food, most people say that with real estate prices soaring, they do not have the luxury of a garden. But there is one space in all homes that is totally unused expect few times a year. That space is the terrace.
Mina Vekaria grows most of her food on not only her terrace, but also in other small spaces like balconies and back yard.
She specializes in growing food using dried coconut husk & peat instead of soil.
This solves many challenges of terrace and home gardening. It discourages pests and solves the problem of too much weight on the terrace. Also it retains water for a longer period and provides an excellent porous growing space for the roots.
A great source to procure coconut husks is any Indian temple, which will be more than happy to give it to you for free.
Mina Vekaria also believes strongly in the concept of reduce, reuse and recycle. So she uses old bottles, glasses, shower curtains, banners, plastic drums etc. and turns them into planters that host her beautiful plants.
She also tries to harness the power of the sun as much as possible by using solar heater and solar cooking stations. She recycles all her organic waste through a bio-gas plant which also provides her with fertilizer that she says is as precious as gold for her plants.
She guarantees that having a terrace garden can improve your mental and physical health and also make you many feathered friends.
All this food is grown organically without any chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Mina Vekaria says that she gets such an abundant crop that it is more than what her family can consume and they happily share this bounty with friends.
Mina Vekaria does regular workshops to spread awareness about organic gardening. Her terrace is always buzzing with people and birds. We really appreciate the time she spent with us and knowledge she shared.
To get in touch with Mina Vekaria, please email us on firstname.lastname@example.org