Ever thought of generating organic matter and cultivating toxic-chemical -free vegetables using dry leaves?

An IT professional with post-graduation in Mathematics, Aditi Deodhar did make this work. After completing post-graduate diploma in Natural Resources Conservation and Management from Ecological Society, Pune, Mrs. Deodhar became more aware about the various ways of conserving nature. In an insightful session by Sustain and Save, Aditi Deodhar shared her unique journey towards sustainable environment with our very own change maker, Sumesh Karad.

‘Think Big, Start Small’. Seeing heaps of dry leaves getting burnt in the backyard, Mrs. Deodhar thought of using them productively and that’s how she took up the mission of, ‘No dry leaf will be burnt in India.’ This gave rise to the formation of Brown Leaf, a connecting and collaborative forum for managing dry leaves in eco-friendly manner. Starting small by bringing in the change in the neighbourhood, Brown Leaf today has a community spread across Pune. 

“Asking people not to burn the leaves wasn’t sufficient. A solution also had to be provided” says Aditi Deodhar. With the increasing mound of dry leaves everywhere, storing it and letting it decompose in the soil wasn’t a way out. That’s when she realised that dry, brown leaves are a value resource. After talking and exploring, she learnt that there’s a growing trend of terrace and balcony gardening in different cities. Due to the lack of soil, many use compost made of dry leaves and kitchen waste. Sometimes along with soil, if it is available and sometimes completely without soil.These gardeners, thus, are in constant need of dry leaves.That’s when she thought of connecting the leaf donors and leaf takers so as to prevent the dry leaves from burning.

“I am fan of social media”, says Mrs. Deodhar. It was through various social media platforms, that she created this distributed forum and alliance which came together, supported her idea and worked together in managing the dry leaves in an organised manner. “Theory isn’t effective when you want some prompt actions”, believes the founder. After donating and seeing the gardeners reap its fruits, a profound impact has been and continues to be made on the donors. The perspective of the people has changed. ‘Brown Leaves’ are now ‘Brown Gold’ for many. 

“Once you decide that you will take one step at a time, you don’t see the entire journey and don’t expect to have a perfect plan made”, is what Mrs. Aditi believes in; and with that believe and faith, today she has a huge support system, has motivated many to copy and replicate this ideology, has built a community who follows the ‘Mulch-Compost-Donate’ model and is instilling the neighbourhood concept amongst many.

Humans are said to copy natures cyclic design. Just like nature works in limited resources, we should follow the same and practise the cyclic method and not the linear design. So let us come together, collaborate, help each other and build an eco-friendly community and neighbourhood by effectively managing the Brown Leaves!

By ; Riya Nathe