Farmer in the city

Fresh from the field, BK Bhavya delivers greens to housing complexes an hour after harvest

The early morning sun lights up several shades of green at SLV Krishivihaar, BK Bhavya’s expansive organic farm. She is caressing the tender stalks, as if waking them up gently. Shaking off the morning dew from a bunch of freshly-plucked leaves, Bhavya holds out the four kinds of greens that she grows in 12 huge patches in her two-acre field at Nettigere, off Kanakapura Main Road.

“I grow palak, coriander, methi and amaranth and my farm is completely organic. I dug the land two feet deep and filled it with new red soil, coco peat, and pure sheep and cow manure before I began the first round of planting,” she explains. The water is sourced from her bore well.

She delivers the produce to apartments within an hour of harvesting. “It’s been a dream come true for me to have this community service for busy urbanites who want to savour organic greens,” says Bhavya, who enjoys her 32-kilometre journey from the field with 100 bundles brought in her car (250 grams each) to be delivered personally at two apartment gates on Kanakpura Road. “It encourages me to see my customers going gaga over these tender ‘soppu (greens) straight from thota’,” she says.

Bhavya quit a career in civil engineering to take up organic farming. “I chased my love for life sciences by growing greens!” she says. The 36-year-old completed her civil engineering from UVCE in 2005 and was part of her family’s industrial-projects business for a short while. “Plants and biology interested me but I did a professional course only to please my father,” she says.

Bhavya adds that her interest in growing greens was to see them grow naturally. “I was also disturbed that in many parts of Bengaluru, greens were grown using water from the Vrishabhavati that carries toxic industrial and domestic waste. It pushed me to take up this endeavour and provide something clean.”

She started by leasing a farm at Harohalli and had a poly house where ornamentals and indoor plants were grown. Soppu was initially grown in pots. “I used to sell greens grown only with coco-peat in pots. It helped people get 150 grams of greens that they could use any time in a week. It stayed garden fresh, as there was no soil. They could use them and return the pot to me,” says Bhavya. But 150 grams that a pot can hold (for ₹20) wasn’t enough for even a nuclear family. Hence, Bhavya stopped the ‘pot greens’ and set up her farm at Nettigere (from where she operates right now).

For six months she learnt the best methods of green farming and the combination for her soil-cocopeat-manure media from professional agriculturists. “While one part of my two acres is reserved for greens, I also have them under a shade to save them from the scorching sun. It’s back-breaking and energy squeezing to have the ‘green babies’ grow to perfection, especially in summer,” says Bhavya. She now supplies 300 kilograms of greens in a month to two apartments .

The one dark cloud on her horizon is buyers who think her pricing of ₹25 for a 250 gram bundle is overpriced. She says, “I just want people to know that the produce is without anything artificial and brought to each one’s doorstep after hours of work at the fields.”

(This column features people who have exchanged their cubicles for the open fields)

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