A Journalist Reveals has been on the lookout for women entrepreneurs and environmental entrepreneurs. That is when Sangita Wahi Mohin contacted us. She has been creating awareness about organic farming. Her initiative, GreenStreet promotes organic practices, urban farming and changes people mindset towards natural sustainable practices in home gardens through their workshops, community awareness programs and products. Excerpts from the interview:
What inspired you to start GreenStreet?
In simple words – The fruits and vegetables that we buy from the markets are full of harmful chemicals and pesticides. Having realized this, I created my own kitchen garden and wanted every family in Gurgaon to have one. I wanted to share this joy and need with the others. Therefore, I took this initiative of taking urban farming to every home.
GreenStreet was initiated as an urge to pass on the need to grow safe and healthy food in our own homes and to create a new community of educated urban gardeners to connect with their food. Modern educated urban has a fair amount of reasoning and intelligence to understand the benefits of growing naturally. It’s important to involve the educated urban to bring this shift in agriculture.
Tell us about your journey from its inception until now.
I shifted to Gurgaon about 18 years ago when this so-called Millennium city was more of a countryside. An avid gardener from childhood, the green Gurgaon especially the farmhouse belts of Bijwasan across my house inspired me to start growing vegetables and fruits out of excitement. The passion started with a single mango tree in 2003 and has grown to more of a cause today.
Keen observations, interest in the life sciences in school and a seeking mind inspired me and get me going. I observed the farms around my area and all that they grow. Google came in handy and online communities and learning from textbooks tell you what propagates how. When something goes wrong or right… Reason it out. As you grow, so you learn. No rules. Experiment, explore and know. It’s more of self-learning.
Then in 2008, my daughter was fighting a skin issue and a naturopath pointed out the amount of toxins we take in as food as the real cause. And the need to eat from your own kitchen garden was the next thing I realized. I adopted and developed a fallow land in front of my bungalow and started growing, now for actual consumption.
An Art of Living workshop took me closer to organic practices and thereafter the passion grew like wildfire. Then In 2015, a Facebook community identified with my passion and asked me for a session with GurgaonMoms.
That is where the movement began. I found a way to connect with people and to motivate them to grow by providing them with the basic knowhow to start. Since then we conduct kitchen gardening sessions in residences, schools and condominiums with the beginning of every season. More and more people joined us due to the power of social media. We created a Whatsapp community that shares and learns from each other to keep continuous connect not only in kitchen gardening but other sustainable practices like composting, recycling, saying no to plastics, chemical free home cleaning, etc.
What is your support system?
Our members are our greatest support. Many have come forward to initiate these sessions in their condominiums, also those who are squeezing time in their multitasking lives and trying their best to grow in their homes. Their support and enthusiasm motivate me every day.
What are your future plans?
We are aiming to set up kitchen gardens as well as kitchen gardening workshops in corporates, schools and condominiums. Our vision is to create an abundance of healthy nutritious food all around Gurgaon by the plantation of fruit trees on roadsides, schools and fallow lands. May Gurgaon be an urban food forest in times to come!
GreenStreet is soon going to be an organized club that will hold workshops, garden meets, events, to connect people and minds further to take natural gardening practices to ornamental gardens as toxins in gardens pollute the soil, water and air around us. We shall soon take up setting up home gardens based on natural practices to discourage artificial fertilizers and pesticides.