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Apeksha Bagchi

IWB Blogger

Mother-Daughter Duo In Kochi Is Turning Unused Spaces At Residential Areas Into Greenlands

  • IWB Post
  •  August 9, 2018


When Maithili Panikar moved to Kochi from Bengaluru, she left behind her hard work of years in her garden where she grew everything from herbs and vegetables to even ornamental plants. Luckily in Kochi, too, she found the medium to channel her passion as she turned many common spaces in the residential premises around her house into community gardens.

Teaming with her mother, Bindu, till now she has grown varieties of veggies and herbs of gourds, basil, eggplant (brinjal), okra (ladies finger), beans, spinach, red amaranth, peppercorns, Spanish tomatoes, passion fruit, curry leaves, and the Chinese potato, locally known as ‘koorka.’

“I could call myself a relatively new urban gardener who has just stepped into the arena. Right from a very young age, there was always this fascination with the environment, science and the intricate machinery of nature. Those projects did have a significant impact in my outlook towards gardening, which I now believe plays a great role in community building as well as helps one understand consumption in a holistic perspective,” said the 25-year-old.


As the space available to her is limited, she has been growing the plants in containers.  

“As much as urban living spaces come with their own benefits and convenience, what deters most people from gardening is probably the spatial constraints. For me, it is this very lack of space that gives the push to think creatively and figure out how one can grow plants within these walls,” she said.


Apart from the gems of gardening related tips and queries she gets from her mother, Maithili has also joined various groups and collectives of gardening enthusiasts on social-media who enrich her knowledge with their experiences.

“In India, a strong sense of community dwells deep within every individual, and I truly believe that community gardening has a great potential, and we really need to tap into it. When an entire community is involved in something as rudimentary as farming, not only does it bring people together and help children have a holistic development, it also makes us closer and sensitive to our environment,” explained Maithili.


Maithili is a multidisciplinary designer, illustrator, and a practitioner of permaculture, as well. A philosophical system of agricultural and social design principles, permaculture focuses on simulating or directly utilizing the patterns and features observed in natural ecosystems.


“What makes permaculture different from the sustainable way of farming is that we focus on an agricultural system that is regenerative than being just sustainable. It is a way of thanking and giving back to nature from which we take so much from,” Maithili said.

“Gardening will forever be something I want to be involved in, and my ultimate dream is to leave behind a garden at every place I live in hereafter,” she concluded.

H/T: The Better India

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