via Indian ExpressCHENNAI: Anamika Bist, who grew up in a small town in Jharkhand, says gardening runs in her blood. This graduate of National Institute of Fashion Technology moved to Bengaluru after marriage and worked as a brand consultant for some of the top companies.

Urban life, family responsibilities, job and the culture of small apartments made it impossible for her to employ her gardening skills effectively and, as a result, she could grow only a few herbs in her balcony.
Forty four-year-old Anamika had always dreamt of having her own garden, where she could grow varieties of fruits and vegetables too along with her herbs. Then, one day, she was shaken when her daughter told her innocently that she thought fruits and vegetables came from supermarkets.

This disconnect motivated Anamika to open a start-up called ‘Village Story’, through which she organises experiential farming for children and their families. Her friend offered her an acre of land to run this.
Within six months, Anamika succeeded in growing vegetables and herbs such as zucchini, broccoli, edamame, cucumber, lettuce, cherry tomatoes, okra, eggplant, beans, born, rocket leaves, spinach, fenugreek, coriander, mint, carrot, millet, butternut squash, radish and capsicum.
Anamika says that her father-in-law, who owns a nursery, farmland and orchard in Dehradun, is her inspiration.

She shares about her startup: “Almost now 15 to 20 families are part of our Farmville/Kitchen Garden; they are extremely thrilled that they have their own green patch where they can grow their own greens. They love coming here with family and friends. They sow, grow, harvest, taste and share. They feel it›s an amazing outdoor family activity for them, from where they take home an experience and joy of growing their own food.” She has observed that this activity has made kids eat vegetables which they never used to taste or touch before.

Tips to grow veggies and herbs

  1. Apply only composted manure that has been kept for at least six months in your soil.
  2. Fresh manure is too high in nitrogen and can ‘burn’ plants; it may also contain pathogens or parasites.
  3. Manure from pigs, dogs, and cats should never be used in gardens or compost piles because they may contain parasites that can infect humans.
  4. Grow vegetables in a location that gets at least 8 hours of direct sunlight every day. Most vegetables need full sunlight to grow well.
  5. If you have some shade, try growing cool-season crops such as lettuce, spinach, radishes, cabbage.
  6. Fertilizer is not the answer to growing the best plants; soil quality is. Add organic amendments such as compost and well-aged manure to your soil.
  7. The best soil structure is crumbly, easy to dig, accepts water easily, and offers oxygen for plant roots.
  8. If you choose to use fertilizer, use an organic one to add nitrogen, phosphate, and potash.

Via Natural Society: 7 Nasty and Crazy Effects of Pesticides in Food, Exposure

When asked by a skeptical friend why you buy organic, do you find yourself tongue-tied? Was it obesity? Or thyroid problems? Why should you buy organic? There are numerous reasons to skip the mainstream supermarket food and shop at an organic grocer, but just one of those reasons revolves around the effects of pesticides.

Unfortunately, pesticides attack your body on several fronts. Keep this list handy the next time you find yourself wondering if you should buy a carton of conventional strawberries rather than organic to potentially save a few pennies. Remember that all of the following conditions will cost you much more than money; the effects of pesticides will cost you your health.

Here are 7 nasty and crazy effects of pesticides.

Effects of Pesticides – Cancer

The dreaded diagnosis of cancer has been linked in over 260 studies worldwide to agrochemicals. Worse, scientists have linked pesticides with several types of cancers, including that of the breast, prostate, brain, bone, thyroid, colon, liver, lung, and more. Some researchers from USC found that “those who lived within 500 meters of places where methyl bromide, captan and eight other organochlorine pesticides had been applied, they found, were more likely to have developed prostate cancer.”

But even indirect exposure, such as through parental use, has been found to affect children in a terrible way. A study published in Environmental Health Perspectives has linked parental use of pesticides with an increased risk of brain cancer in children. “Parental exposures may act before the child’s conception, during gestation, or after birth to increase the risk of cancer,” the study said. And when the parents are exposed to the pesticides may also play a role in the different cellular changes that lead to cancer.

Obesity and Diabetes

Because pesticides have also been linked to obesity, it’s logical that it would be connected to diabetes, in which obesity often has a role. Some researchers found a higher prevalence of obesity in the participants with high urinary concentrations of a pesticide known as 2,5-dichlorophenol (2,5-DCP). It is important to note that 2,5-DCP is one of the most widely used pesticides on the globe.

Robert Sargis, MD, PhD, revealed his recent study findings at the Endocrine Society’s 94th Annual Meeting, stating that agricultural fungicide created insulin resistance in fat cells. The journal Diabetes Carepublished in 2011 that people with excess weight and high levels of organochlorine pesticides in their bodies had greater risk of becoming diabetic.

Parkinson’s Disease

Long-term exposure to herbicides and pesticides have been associated in over 60 studies with Parkinson’s. You don’t have to be a conventional farmer to be wary of these findings. Use natural methods to keep pests and weeds out of your home and garden today.

Infertility and Birth Defects

One of the most well-known negative effects of pesticides, infertility is continuously found to be a result of exposure to these agrochemicals. Atrazine—a weed killer used in agriculture as well as on golf courses and which has been found in tap water—may be partially responsible for climbing miscarriage and infertility rates. As for men, one 2006 study pinpointed chlorpyrifos with lowering testosterone levels. This pesticide is often found in strawberry fields and apple and peach orchards.

Other researchers tested roundup on mature male rats at a concentration range between 1 and 10,000 parts per million (ppm), and found that within 1 to 48 hours of exposure, testicular cells of the mature rats were either damaged or killed.

Avoid pesticides even if you’re already pregnant. These chemicals are responsible for causing various birth defects, too. A report revealed that the top selling herbicide Roundup disrupts male hormones due to the main active ingredient – glyphosate.


Admittedly, pesticides aren’t solely to blame for autism, but they may be a hefty part of the equation. Leading scientists are attributing the condition to genes and insecticides exposed to the mother while pregnant as well as to the child in early years. This is because many chemicals affect the neurology of bugs, inadvertently affecting the neurological function of children, too. A 2010 Harvard study blames organophosphate pesticides—found in children’s urine—to ADHD.

What is the best way to to avoid pesticide exposure and pesticides in food? Don’t use pesticides, and buy organic. Organic isn’t always easy or cheap, so keep in mind these updated dirty dozen fruits and vegetables to always buy organic (plus 15 cleaner foods you can afford to buy conventional). NASA has also suggested raising air purifying plants indoors to clear your home of indoor air pollution. Remember to remove pesticides from your home, too.