As I sit down to write this out, one month after the inauguration of Compost Learning Center in Bengaluru, my first thoughts are around the time, when we had one home composting product in the market… the popular Khamba by Daily Dump. I started to use the Khamba, sometime in 2008, and the first time I failed miserably. My compost pot was smelly, maggots everywhere and I did not know what to do with my unsuccessful experiment. Something was horribly wrong and I remember emptying the Khamba, in an open plot opposite my house. The khamba then sat pretty for the next one year, till I developed the courage to try again and stuck gold (read black gold). At that time, there were a handful of individuals who had adopted home composting. The numbers were low, but the passion was high, and many had taken to social media to promote the need for urban composting.
Read my post on clearing the Air on Street Leaf Litter Management which showcases many individual and community led street leaf litter management https://radio-active.in/2018/04/18/air-clearingtheair-streetleaf-littermanagement/
SwachaGraha 2.0- Green Spots to Green Wave
A look back at Swachagraha, a campaign designed to challenge communities to take up the green spot that was launched in 2016, has now metamorphosed into a platform creating a movement across multiple cities. From inspiring, educating and equipping communities to take up home composting, the campaign has diversified into Composting Santhes at the ward level, to encouraging zero waste temples and installation of lane composters in the area.
The Swacha Graha Version 2.0 has set out to usher in a composting revolution with many new initiatives from a first of its kind Swacha Graha Kalika Kendra – composting learning center & museum to the Swacha Graga Compost Connect- a Citizen – Farmer Connect and more.
What is a Composting Learning Center?
‘SwachaGraha Kalika Kendra’ a composting learning center, is a first-of-its-kind project in India, located in Sector 4 of HSR Park in Bengaluru that offers exciting and educational live exhibits of more than twenty composting models including a fully functional Biogas Unit, and a chance to explore a host of home gardening solution for people of all age group. As you enter, the totem pole that greats you, prominently displays a pledge for a cleaner city, and puts the emphasis on our waste our responsibility.
Your tour begins as you walk the pathway leading to the arch made of old paint buckets that takes you into the composting arena. En route to the arch is a display of the smiling yellow worm made of old tires that calls out for a selfie. Then take time off discovering the many home and community composting solutions – from aerobic composting, anaerobic composting, vermin-composting and bio gas and models that offer a host of do-it-yourself models, the Tumburmuzhy model that is popular in Aleppey, Kerala, also called the Alleppey Bin, and leaf composters are on display for learning. Once you have seen this, you walk into the gardening and growing patch that showcases vendors in the space that can help set up terrace/balcony gardens, and a do-it-yourself kitchen garden for individual houses and apartment’s complexes, and this stems from the need to relook at the concept of back to soil and health eating.
Why do we need a Composting Learning Centre?
The Composting Learning centre is designed in a way that appreciates our ability to learn, ask questions, explore, examine and of course experiment, internalize and interact. The best part of the centre is also a demonstration of the power of community partnership.
While the idea of a composting learning centre has been conceptualised by the Solid Waste Management Roundtable* (SWMRT), it is the neighbourhood citizen groups, along with the BBMP that powers it.
In the case of HSR, it is the members of the HSR Citizen Forum that fuels the centre. With their easy camaraderie, and passion, it does not come as a surprise that the centre has been receiving a full stream of visitors since the inauguration, and the members are all too happy to take turns receiving people and sharing information. An important piece in enabling the learning centre is that of the BBMP and the elected representatives, from allotting suitable space /location, and providing for Electricity, Water, Security House and Toilet Facility and allotting MLA funds, procuring sponsorship support, promoting and supporting the functioning of the Learning Centre, respectively.
Swacha Graha Compost Connect
A natural progression of facilitating a community of urban compost producers is also to build connections with the rural farming community, to send back compost to the soil. SWMRT’s second campaign the SwachaGraha Compost Connect is all about pathways and connections. Note: The campaign is still evolving, as the farmers have to conduct a field trial. For apartments/layouts in Bangalore interested in this, can write to firstname.lastname@example.org
We need to usher in a new wave of urban composting because cities like Bengaluru cannot afford to treat itself merely as producers of waste and consumers of food.
Break through the concrete,
Sprout a garden,
In empty plots, and former black spots,
In underutilized spaces and street medians
For Gardening is
A tool for community organizing,
Use the compost produced in your homes,
And reap the public produce,
That will reshape our food system,
And serve under served populations,
Shrinking our ecological footprint and
Reducing the urban decline…
Note: Picture Credits for the team pictures of HSR Citizen Forum and the Group Picture in the end, is HSR Citizen Forum