On an average, India generates 500 million tons of crop residue in a year. A large portion of this remains on the farm and the helpless farmer has no choice but to burn away the residue to prepare for the next harvest. This results in the emission of various greenhouse and other gases. Every year, most of North India succumbs to the reality and consequences of this stubble burning.
livelihood, biowaste, food: An erstwhile educationist, 62-year-old Geeta Arunachalam has devised easy methods to use agricultural waste to cultivate and harvest one of the most expensive foods in the Indian market. “Essentially, stubble burning involves setting fire to the straw stubble and other agricultural waste that remains after harvesting the grains. However, instead of burning the waste, one can get rid of it by using it to grow mushrooms. In fact, oyster mushrooms, one of the lesser-known varieties are rich in nutrients and grow very well with leftover straw,” says Geeta. Over the past 12 years, she has trained hundreds of individuals to grow mushrooms in limited spaces. Till date, she has conducted individual and group sessions in more than 100 schools and 50 gardening groups and NGOs in and around Delhi. A retired school principal, Geeta Arunachalam found her calling in 2007 when she kickstarted her project ‘Taste from Waste’. It is a crash course on growing mushrooms, recognised by the Ministry of Environment. As opposed to the common belief that oyster mushrooms can only grow in higher altitudes or cooler cities like Bengaluru with temperatures between 10 to 30 degrees Celsius, her methods make it possible for the mycelium to sprout and grow, in the extremes of the North as well. As per the process, the walls of the shed can be built out of straw blocks and then smeared with a coating of clay and cow dung, and then covered with burlap sacking. The wall needs to be regularly sprinkled with water to maintain the ideal humidity level between 50 to 70 per cent. These walls also help in keeping the shed insulated against extreme temperatures, thus allowing the mushrooms inside to flourish.
Link: • Smaller than the tillers and tractors, but stronger than draft animals • Fuel efficient, sturdy, easy to handle and operate • Easy to assemble and dismantle. (can be also used as a regular motorcycle) • Multi farm operation: Farming, inter-culturing and sowing operation • Because of light weight, it prevents soil compaction, can be used for orchards and plantations crops
Blog Link 2:
Blog Link 5: