Until 2013, Hemal Patel's corporate job had him confined to a cubicle, the only respite being his weekend trips to explore the great outdoors. Visits to various villages only increased his long-held interest in farming and he thought of doing his bit to promote an organic way of life.
By the time he finally gathered the courage to bid farewell to the security of a well-paying job, he had spent three years researching the field he was going to plunge into. In 2014, he founded UrbanSoil to spread knowledge and awareness on growing one's own food in urban areas. Soon enough, Hemal understood the importance of urban wet waste which, when converted methodologically into compost, turns into rich soil. People in urban areas can use this compost soil to grow healthy, organic food.
Through UrbanSoil, Hemal organises and conducts several workshops to teach people the techniques required to grow their own food on their terraces and balconies. So far, more than 250 participants from Pune and Mumbai have been involved in these two-day workshops, where they learnt to grow their own food in spaces ranging from as little as 6 sqft to as much as 6,000 sqft.
He told The Times of India,
"I kept wondering why people in cities were not growing their own food. While I was in the process of quitting my job, I came across many citizens who were interested in organic farming but could not pursue it due to a lack of knowledge."
UrbanSoil's mission is to educate urban citizens about the different ways of growing healthy food all on their own and becoming self-sufficient in terms of waste-to-wealth conversion.