Promoting inclusive, green and sustainable city living

Students of SSMRV Degree College in Bengaluru help promote inclusive, green and sustainable city living as part of their work experience in community service.  

Six students pursuing their B.Com degree helped launch social enterprise pilot ‘Parisara Sannidhi Terrace Garden (PSTG)’, a community initiative by Disability Entrepreneurship And Leadership (DEAL) Foundation.

A terrace garden or roof garden is a garden in which vegetables, fruits or flowers are grown on terraces, balconies or roofs or buildings’.

The PSTG Vision is to create a cluster of terrace and vertical gardens across local communities for community regeneration.

To achieve this vision PSTG will:

  • Establish a model terrace garden pilot involving 25 households situated in 9th Block, Jayanagar in Bengaluru.  
  • Provide hands-on support, training and follow-up.
  • Evaluate outcomes from the pilot and scale-up.

More than 50% of the Indian population is migrating to metropolitan cities. Rapid urbanization has resulted in the loss of bio diversity,   green spaces, productive farm land and water bodies.

There is increasing concern among city dwellers about availability, reliability and affordability of fresh food including fruits and vegetables.

Dependency upon ready-to-cook and instant food has increased  the burden of disease and ill-health.

There is a growing sense of social isolation and disconnect made worse by the Pandemic.

Based on the motto “Grow what you eat and eat what you grow”, the   PSTG solution helps address issues of access to safe, reliable, affordable fruits, herbs,   vegetables and flowers  including ornamental plants for personal consumption and wellbeing.

PSTG gives persons with varying degree of ability and interest to get involved as little or as much as they want with gardening, natural habitats and environment-friendly pursuits.

Terrace gardens in cities have existed over four decades or more.  PSTG model is unique as it helps create value for individuals while promoting greater good for the wider community.

Growing of kitchen garden plants, herbal, indoor and ornamental plants   are deeply rooted in cultural and religious practices across communities in India.

Terrace gardening movement in Indian cities has been spurred on by emerging middle classes  in response to decaying urban ecologies, unhealthy  and  untrustworthy food sources.

Covid-19 Pandemic has further help amplify this movement.

Economic benefits:

  • Terrace gardens substantially enhance re-sale or rental value of buildings and property.
  • They help reclaimed additional or usable space for growing horticulture produce of value.
  • They can increase the life expectancy of  the roof and building.
  • Buildings with terrace gardens consume up to 30% less energy and can result in cost savings.

Environmental benefits:

  • Terrace gardens can improve the thermal resistance of the roof assembly throughout the year, especially in summer months by helping to improve air quality
  • Terrace garden plants help produce oxygen and remove carbon dioxide from the air. They also trap up to 85% of airborne particulates on their leaf surfaces.
  • Plants, soil, and air trapped in the soil are great acoustic insulators too.

Social benefits:

  • Terrace and vertical gardens can be a boon for persons who have restricted mobility and find it difficult to venture out doors.
  • They could offer persons with disability, elderly and other members of the family the opportunity to easily grow the fresh produce required for personal consumption.
  • Being involved in terrace and vertical gardens especially over the Pandemic, can help    reduce physical contact between people, tackle isolation and promote a sense of health and wellbeing.
  • Terrace gardens can help promote emotional and physical well-being.
  • They can help Develop and improve interpersonal relations, provide a sense of purpose and improve the overall quality of life.
  • Terrace and vertical gardening activities can be especially beneficial for persons with intellectual disabilities and persons with mental health conditions.
  • Terrace and vertical gardens can also help insulate one from the frantic phase of city life and help reduce stress.

(Source: sciencedirect.com)

PSTG will work with Bengaluru residents including households of persons with disability to create their own private green spaces to grow fresh fruits, vegetables, flowers, herbs and ornamental plants for personal consumption and wellbeing.

PSTG will offer persons with an interest in terrace and vertical gardens a start-up toolkit and resources including:

  • Seeds and saplings to grow Ornamental, fruit, vegetable, medicinal plants including on-demand grafting and layering.
  • Nutrition products including vitamins, potting mix, vermicompost etc. necessary for healthy growth of plants.
  • Bee hive boxes, bee colonies and apiary services.
  • Materials required to install semi intensive, intensive and extensive green roofs.
  • Door-step delivery of materials including freshly grown produce.
  • Hands-on support, training, PSTG online store, virtual community and the opportunity to serve as a PSTG Community Volunteer.

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