City Notebook – Bhajitable Garden III

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Karachi can be Green. There were so many people in the latest edition of Bhajitable Garden Workshop- a beginner’s guide to growing your own food – that even if half of them start growing plants, Karachi would be green. Judging by their enthusiasm in the session and later on whatsapp group, The Karachi Walla has faith and hope in the participants.

Bhajitable Garden is a workshop facilitated by Tofiq Pasha, Fatima Almas and Izhar Ul Haq Muhammad. The third edition of the workshop took place at Tofiq Pasha’s Farm in Malir on a pleasant Sunday morning. The drive to Tofiq Pahsa’s farm was much simpler than it appeared at first. Just one turn from Sharah-e-Faisal and a straight road led to his farm past Malir Nadi. People were largely on time. The session was conducted out in the open. Under the shadow of Neem tree.

Tofiq Pasha started the session. He was dressed up in a denim jeans and shirt and smoked a brand of cigarette i was not aware of. His introduction was not rehearsed and hence so good. Authenticity and clarity of thought is a rare and priceless combination. He began with larger issues at hand. The waste that humans generate and the food that we eat and cost that our coming generations are set to pay for our convenience. He advocated use of reusable bags to reduce plastic bags usage and stuff life that. Simple acts of prudence. There was pin-drop silence as he continued for an hour or so.

The audience consisted mostly of housewives in their 30s and 40s. Some of them have brought their husbands, few of them listening attentively, others finding excuses to take a break, to light up cigarette or take a phone call. Others had brought their gardeners along.

The session continued with Izhar taking audience through basics of home gardening with focus on growing own food. The session delved into complex issues. He started speaking of Organic Fertilizer, Earthworms, Nitrogen, Potassium and pesticides made out of tobacco. There was a panic in the audience. People took their notebooks out jotting down the information frantically. Others started speaking and throwing questions simultaneously.

“Where can i get earthworms from? Urdu Bazaar?”

“Can you repeat that in Urdu? so that my gardener can understand”

“What was that? Potassium in fish feed?”

“Can we grow tomatoes in a pot?”

“Oh I am not interested in taking the class, I just wanted to see Tofiq Pasha’s farm”

The audience calmed down after a bit as Izhar answered everyone’s concerns one by one. Tofiq Pasha took everyone on a quick tour of the farm. He has grown all kinds of vegetables; bindhi, kaddu, karelay, lettuce, rocket, tomato and much more. Everyone was given couple of pots to plant seeds and take them back.

It was late in the evening by the time workshop ended. Everyone left with a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction.

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Categories: City Notebook

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