Refresh The City With Lee Jeans – Aquaponics And Permaculture

Presenting my take, on the Lee Jeans – Refresh The City concept. You can also be a part of the Lee India #RefreshTheCity campaign by submitting your own ideas here.

Before we get into the story, here is a quick video :

Lee Jeans #RefreshTheCity

Your city. The place you call home. Perhaps the place where you were born or moved to for better prospects. For love or loss. Work or passion. The reason, is immaterial. It is in this space that you live, love, create. Or exist. It is where you experience all that life sends your way, the most part of it at least. And it is in this space, that some people choose to refresh the lives we live. Refreshing the city. Refreshing life as we know it.

When Lee Jeans announced they were looking for individuals who were doing something substantial to refresh their cities, I instantly knew this was going to be an interesting project. Lee Jeans has been synonymous with reinventing everyday wear, after all. With Jade Fusion for Summer (helps keep cool) and Magma Fusion for Winter (stay warm) they brought something fresh into denim wear. There also was the 101+ Selvedge Denim limited drop I wore when I spent 24 hours in Hyderabad with That Delhi Girl.

Sure, artists are in abundance in Bangalore, with graffiti everywhere and the entire city taking to cycles (including me) for commute. I wanted to cover something a lot deeper and this was a struggle for me because I had zero leads. Until a kind hearted lady I haven’t even met in my life, pointed me to Azlan Shakib of designhouse.ooo.

Lee Jeans #RefreshTheCity
Azlan and Amina, founded designhouse.ooo together

Bangalore is known for its job opportunities in Information Technology and Enabled Services. It is also known for its beer and rock music culture, as much as it is for food. It is the city of art and theatre. Not to forget, start ups. If you have been anywhere on social media in the last 3-4 weeks, I am pretty certain you chanced upon the research that says Bangalore city is going to die in 5 years. The rapid rate of development is something the city isn’t able to keep up with. There is acute water shortage, which is eventually going to lead to shortage in food.

This isn’t a problem that is just plaguing Bangalore, it is a global phenomena.

Azlan, the founder of designhouse.ooo told me how the 3 O’s are representative of what they do – Aquaponics, Permaculture and Product Design from recycled material. Yeah, the first 2 terms sound very confusing don’t they? Did to me too. But Azlan and Amina were kind enough to break it down for me.

Lee Jeans #RefreshTheCity
I am smiling because I have never seen wheatgrass in my life!
Aquaponics Lee Jeans #RefreshTheCity
This acrylic based set up is designed and hand-made by the team.
Aquaponics Lee Jeans #RefreshTheCity
Instead of traditional soil, Aquaponics uses Clay Pellets that absorb moisture and keep the roots hydrated.

In lay man terms, Aquaponics is an activity wherein you raise fish, and grow plants without soil, in one integrated environment. Fish waste acts as manure/fodder for the plants who in turn filter the water that the fish live in. Which means if you have one of these set ups in your house, you can have a healthy meal every single day from the produce generated in your terrace or balcony. Imagine, baked fish and veggies. Yum! Aquaponics works such that you save a whopping 90% of the water needed to grow the similar kind of vegetation in a traditional soil based farm. Not to forget, because it is so effective, the plants grow in 1/3rd the time it usually takes. Add to this, the hands-free approach (not bothering when to water and fertilise) and you have a winner!

Another huge benefit is that the produce is completely devoid of chemicals and hence is all-natural and organic. Even the amount of energy used is roughly 80% lesser than conventional farms. And because there is no soil, there is no pestilence and therefore no requirement of maintenance. Aquaponics is the farming method of the future!

Aquaponics Lee Jeans #RefreshTheCity
The doll-faced Persian Cat, Bablu, looks on at his fish pals. She and Sheru, drink water out of this Aquaponics set up, often playing with the fish.
Aquaponics Lee Jeans #RefreshTheCity
This is a low cost model that uses a plastic container.
Aquaponics Lee Jeans #RefreshTheCity
Sheru treating himself to some wheatgrass grown using Aquaponics.
Aquaponics Lee Jeans #RefreshTheCity
A set up like this will get you all the fish you need to eat with your personal garden for salads.

Designhouse.ooo also consult on Permaculture ecosystems, that help transform agricultural land and plots to dense fruit forests. The primary focus is sustainability. These ecosystems are self-sufficient. The key here, is to let nature charts it’s own course rather than allowing human intervention decide what needs to be planted and where. There is no man-made isolation as fruits and vegetables co-exist and decide how to spread out going as far as enabling cross pollination all by themselves. In principle, this is how mankind should be growing their produce rather than the current practices we indulge in – depleting the soil of its nutrients, spraying them with harmful chemicals that poison the crop and eventually the food that ends up on our plate.

Aquaponics Lee Jeans #RefreshTheCity
Coconut husk is used instead of soil to retain moisture in this model.
Aquaponics Lee Jeans #RefreshTheCity
These plants are called Ground Cover. They maintain the moisture levels on the ground by spreading out.
Aquaponics Lee Jeans #RefreshTheCity
A sink converted into a farm.
Lee Jeans #RefreshTheCity
To think, I did not even know what Aquaponics and Permaculture was, till Lee #RefreshTheCity happened.
Recycled Wood Furniture
This book shelf is made from 100% reclaimed pine and is assembled in under 5 mins. It rests on the mid-shelf and is as stable as it gets.

But all of this is easier said than done. Which is why the work of Azlan and Amina is critical. The have generated a fair bit of interest and projects from across the country, which is a good sign. But unless individuals like them get the widespread acknowledgement they deserve, there is little hope for the future.

Change the future is possible. All it takes is for the collective human conscience to wake up and do what is right.

Above all else, it takes commitment and passion. To change perspective as we know it. To make one realise, that it doesn’t take a lot to give back to nature. All it takes is for you to be true.

And that is a refreshing thought in itself.

Aquaponics Lee Jeans #RefreshTheCity
The first time I ate anything that was fresh off the plant.

Shot by Jagath Venkat and Vishal Dey for Bowties and Bones X Lee.

My shirt, tee and denims are by Lee Jeans India.

Lee Jeans #RefreshTheCity

9 comments

  1. True innovation and great ideas come when you try not to follow the sheep and step out of the crowd to try to change simple things in this age that might have an impact on the future, helping the future generations to enjoy the beauty of nature which we’re so keen on destroying and a very few are preserving… All my support and Good luck to my brother Azlan and SIL Amina… God Speed guys!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wonderful post! And I agree.

    Really informative, thought-provoking and action-provoking article.

    Truly inspiring young couple:-)..!!! in today’s world of cash and carry it is motivating and inspiring to learn many things from Amina and Azlan who think outside the box and encourage others to come close to nature.

    All the very best for your future…!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

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