Facilitate urban farming in chennai to supply for old age homes

ABOUT US:  Urban Chennai Farm,  is a movement  which tries to facilitate locally grown, pesticide free vegetables to communities who need them.  We wanted to start this farm in reaction to the lack of fresh green produce, lack of natural resources and support for urban farming in the city.  We wanted to also use this opportunity and give all the yield from this farm to Old Age homes or NGOs or Orphanages who would benefit from this vegetables.

THE CHALLENGE:  We want to transform 1,000 sqft of unused rooftop into an exemplar urban farm and community space. The Farm is located atop of a mixed-use building on the busiest area(CIT Nagar) in Chennai. Today most of the produces we consume are filed with pesticides and artificial chemicals. our goal is to provide clean nature-good food using technology. to achieve this goal, we are attempting 'hydroponics' method to grow our produce. 

We hope that by showing it is possible to grow clean food in a densely urbanized area with efficient technology and minimal resources, we could achieve and inspire others to start growing (some of) their own food in the underutilized spaces thats around them. The aim of this movement is to bring back the local grown produces to the communities and encourage local farming.


As part of the Project Urban Chennai Farms will:

  • Grow clean vegetables (Close to 500 herbs based plant, 50 Tomatoes & 50 capsicum and 50 brinjal plants)
  • Provide all produce through the rooftop farm to old age homes and NGO's. Not a single produce would be used for commercial purpose. 
  • Host workshops to educate and expose city dwellers to the possibilities of urban farming and train urban farmers

THE HARVEST: we aim to grow vegetables like Tomato, brinjal, capsicum and greens like spinach and lettuces. We will grow lots of herbs like basil, fenugreek, coriander, curry leaf.

THE QUESTIONS:  

How much food can we grow in 1,000sqft of roof space? 
Based on our current estimation 1000sqft can grow up to 1248 small herbs. But we don't want to grow just herbs but also grow other vegetables. The plan is to grow close to 500 herbs , 50 Tomato plants, 50 capsicum plants and 50 brinjal plants

How many people will this feed?  
We haven't done the estimates on how many will be able to feed. But the earlier question will show you the plants and quantity that we intent to grow. 

What are the NGO or Old Age homes or Orphanages  you intent to provide your produce to?
We are yet to  start a discussion with any of these organisations. But we would like to see how this initiative goes and if successful we would contact them to make an arrangement to deliver these produces on weekly basis.

How financially feasible is it (in Chennai) to convert rooftops into community farms?
Chennai Urban Farms plans to develop a model after this implementation that others can replicate and will share all information and findings on our future website and publications.

The $12,000 budgeted will be used to cover the costs of:

  • Hydroponics NFT system for the herbs - To support 500 plants
  • Hydroponics Bucket based system - To support 150 plants(Tomatoes, brinjal, capsicum)
  • Automation monitors, Nutrient Station & Solution, Nursery bed, Clay Pellets, Pump and other items needed to setup the hydroponics system. 
  • Seedlings
  • Poly-house (with foggers, exhaust fans) - This is to ensure we will keep the greenhouse in a temperature we want
  • Solar setup for the power requirements
  • Water to run this operations for the next 3 years
  • Salary for the gardener for the next 3 years
  • Basic tools and Tables and seating (refurbished second-hand pieces)
Growing food locally, in the vast amounts of useable space (flat, open rooftops and terraces) in urban Chennai can begin to address the problem of a lack of access, due to affordability and availability, of quality produce.   Urban agriculture also holds the potential to raise awareness about clean food growing practices, healthy eating habits, and provides beautiful, green outdoor spaces for city dwellers to enjoy. 

We thank you for your support and are incredibly grateful for your help in making this project possible!

About Hydroponics: To know more about Hydroponics please refer to the links below:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydroponics
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nutrient_film_technique
http://blog.alextiller.com/BlogRetrieve.aspx?BlogID=2729&PostID=54470
http://www.simplyhydro.com/whatis.htm
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14th June 2016

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