Living Greens: This Jaipur start-up is cooling homes with rooftop gardens

Living Greens Organics Private Limited is a Jaipur-based start-up founded by Prateek Tiwari in 2013 with the idea of encouraging rooftop organic farming.

By Nimisha S Pradeep  Published on  30 April 2022 4:21 AM GMT
Living Greens: This Jaipur start-up is cooling homes with rooftop gardens

Hyderabad: In most of the cities in India, especially metro cities, green spaces are being utilised for road-widening projects or to construct high-rises. At a time when unused spaces in a city are reducing, how do we retrieve our green cover? How about farming on the roof?

Living Greens Organics Private Limited is a Jaipur-based start-up founded by Prateek Tiwari in 2013 with the idea of encouraging rooftop organic farming. For the first five years, the company focused on working with individual households to nurture rooftop gardens.

"Any person interested in taking up rooftop organic farming in their home contacts us. We send them a portable farming system which they can install themselves. The portable farming system consists of a leak-proof container, soilless medium, iron frame, drip irrigation system, and a sub-surface drainage system. It also includes an organic input kit which consists of organic sprays and fertilisers and vegetable seeds," explains Prateek.

Once the system has been set up by the household, a WhatsApp group will be formed comprising the household, a subject expert, and Prateek to provide support and tips to the household.

Although the portable system is exclusively for farming vegetables, there are similar systems for fruits like papaya, pomegranate, banana, etc. But since they grow big, they are not so popular.

Green gains

This system enables individual households to procure their daily vegetables. Individual households also wake up to mornings with abundant fresh oxygen in their homes. Also, on a macro level, it helps turn the city green. More importantly, it also cools homes.

"Usually, when our home is on the first or second floor or even higher and if the roof is left vacant, it will be exposed to the sun. When we practise rooftop farming, it reduces this exposure to the sun and it cools down the home," explains Prateek.

From his office in Jaipur, Prateek explains how his building stays cool due to organic farming being done on its roof. "We have an air conditioner in this office for the last three years. But the fact is that it has hardly been used thrice in the last three years," shares Prateek.

In the last year, Living Greens has opened up its initiative for schools, factories, hospitals, and malls. "Take the example of a factory. Many factories are located away from the city. There might not be any vegetable shops in those areas. Also, factories mostly have flat rooftops. This enables them to have a rooftop organic farm," says Prateek.

Currently, Living Greens has expanded to 25 cities across India distributing over 4,000 portable farming systems and farming around 2,50,000 square feet of area. "This is the best solution to reverse the negative impacts of urbanisation. Green spaces have been erased to construct buildings. Now, to reverse the ill effects of the process, gardens have to be made on these buildings so as to restore the green," adds Prateek.

Unforeseen benefits

During the pandemic, Living Greens also got to hear about some unforeseen benefits from their customers. Young Indians living abroad started inquiring about setting up rooftop gardens in their homes so that their parents had a fruitful pastime. "With the pandemic and the restrictions on movement, senior citizens lost their opportunity to socialise. Organic farming was seen as a fruitful pastime," says Prateek.

Even parents of young children found it was a good solution to ensure a little bit of physical exercise for their children who were stuck to their computers/mobile phones most of the time for online classes.

Living Greens feels that the government should also promote rooftop organic farming. "Rather than creating urban forests and vertical gardens on metro pillars which have problems of security and ownership, the government should encourage more people to practice rooftop farming," says Prateek.

Living Greens is one of the many companies that will participate in [email protected] 3.0 ((Innovations & New Knowledge in Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) which is going to be held in Hyderabad in May 2022. [email protected] is a unique platform instituted by Telangana municipal administration and urban development for collaboration and partnerships between start-ups/innovators, mentors, academic institutions, non-profits, funders, and state/city governments.

NewsMeter is the formal media partner for [email protected] 3.0. This article has been written by NewsMeter in association with the Administration Staff College of India (ASCI).

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