11: Regrow – Organic Gardening from Kitchen Scraps, International

Challenger Profile at a Glance

Meet the international team that created a systematic approach for doing organic gardening from kitchen scraps and using recycled materials. Find out how they are making a difference with the Regrow initiative that they launched in the 2020 International Climate Action Challenge!

Team

  • #11: Regrow
  • Challenge Goal: Help people to grow food and ornamental plants and restore the environment from kitchen scraps and using recycled materials. Showing a systematic approach for an improved lifestyle
  • Location: Bangladesh, India, USA, Canada, Australia
  • Registered Challengers: Debsree Mandal, Udday Shankur Datta, Melissa Elliott Reynolds
  • 90-Day Challenge Period: September 1 – November 30, 2020

Impact

Here are some highlights of the Regrow’s impact during the 90-day challenge period:

  • Founded a new international team with 12 members
  • Developed a systematic circular approach with details and diagrams to teach others how to use the Regrow system as part of their daily lives
  • Started a Facebook Group to stay motivated and share ideas
  • Each garden can divert 288 lbs of kitchen green waste into compost for soil and reuse plastic container for potting containers
  • Together, the teams planted a total of 100 plants including 10 varieties: onions, ginger, tomato, mint, lettuce, papaya, capsicums, morning glory, lemon, carrots
  • The team also earned income by selling papaya tree seedlings and decorative pots upcycled from plastic milk jugs
  • The annual savings per garden is estimated to be $200 to $400
  • Developed 2 partnerships: New Roots Initiative in the Philippines, Paraa nonprofit working on urban agriculture in the slums

Debsree explained:

“Agriculture now is one of the leading sources of negative environmental impact. By altering our daily life a bit, we can make a huge difference. Instead of throwing kitchen waste into the garbage, we developed a strategy to convert the wasted leftover parts into plats to get fresh food and restore soil fertility.”

Challenge Experience

When asked about her challenge experience, Debsree said, “First, I think I’m really fortunate to get the opportunity to do something in this program.”

In the Climate Action Challenge book, the concept of “2% for Life” was introduced. This is the idea that we can spend two percent of our time on the planet taking care of the planet. 

Debsree advises, “We request others also just give 2% of your lifetime to Mother Nature. Do it for your life, your children’s lives, and their children’s lives also.” 

Next Steps

Moving forward, the team is planning to expand its efforts in 2021 by:

  • Continuing the activities already started to regrow food, divert waste, increase soil fertility, and create economic opportunities
  • Scaling up with more members and more partners
  • Sharing their system with a neighborhood community garden in the Philippines
  • Sharing their system in a slum area through Paraa

Advice

What does the team recommend for others who want to make an impact?

  • “Just start what you want and your idea or your thoughts will actually show you the path and that’s it,” said Debsree. “You just need to start and your idea will guide you.”
  • Udday said that he would like other organizations to come forward and use the system they’ve developed because anyone can easily follow it. “If we can just divert some amount of plastic in our everyday life and regrow some of our food, so many people in this whole world can create a lot of difference in the overall consumption of resources.”

Connect

Want to get involved? Reach out to participate as a member or partner with the Regrow team. 

Photos

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