Mayank Sharma is a multi-tasker and an industry professional with over ten years of experience in partnerships and sales. He enjoys organic gardening and kitchen gardening. In addition to being a multi-tasker and a professional industrialist, he is a bird watcher, which allows him to identify birds by their sounds.
Mayank Sharma was a professional badminton player. He enjoys debating and has won numerous competitions during his college years. He is also a public speaker. These are various facets of Mayank Sharma’s personality.
Let us dive into the delightful conversation on the journey of Mayank Sharma with Icy Tales.
Q. How does a day looks like when you are involved in the process of Organic Urban Farming?
Mayank Sharma: The journey of Baking Gardener started 7 years back, but the content creation part started a year back. I initially started with kitchen gardening on my small 500 square feet terrace, where I grow all kinds of vegetables. The content creation part of the baking gardener started in June last year with the thought of bringing organic farming to a wider audience; somebody has to teach it to the people. If I have gained some experience, why not share it with a larger audience?
The day in my life appears to be busy. I get up at 5:30 in the morning, have tea, chat with my plants, create a lot of stuff in the early hours, and finish by 6:45 or 7. I serve as an associate director for a company that supports entrepreneurs. If the light is good when I get home from work, I work on creating material; if not, I go to my plants and harvest some of them.
My days are usually very packed, and I play badminton if it’s not too hot in the evenings. There are two periods throughout the day that I particularly enjoy spending time: the first is in the morning when I spend time with my plants, and the second is in the evening between 7 and 9 when I am with my daughter. She is the inspiration behind my social media handles.
Q. Air emissions and contaminated soils are part of the cityscape. What possibilities are there to still produce healthy food with little effort?
Mayank Sharma: Today, the world outside is Save Soil. I suggest following Sadhguru’s movement of Save Soil. If you don’t like the person, at least follow the cause they are standing for. If you agree with the cause and this cause is something I swear by.
Save soil has to be the motto, and the save soil movement by Sadhguru is based on that. The movement on the fact that the soil is degrading, the soil is full of chemicals, and the organic content in the soil is not left. 95% of the food that we eat in our household comes from the soil. 95% of antibiotics come from the soil, and for soil to be defined as the soil fit for agriculture, the minimum organic requirement has to be at least 3%.
Nowadays, what is happening around the globe is that there is the increased use of pesticides and chemical fertilizers have ensured that the organic content of the soil goes down. In India, 62% of the soil has less than 0.5% organic content.
My aim is that the coming generation should eat good food, which is organic, nutrient-leading food; for that, we have to take small steps. Getting back the nutrients rich soil may take time, but we can take small steps like planting our chemical-free vegetables. We must try it by taking small steps; the work is very easy.
Q. Where did you get inspired to start with zero-waste organic life? Turning kitchen waste to GOLD?
Mayank Sharma: I have been growing vegetables past 10 years. My inspiration is my father, who used to grow vegetables in small quantities. My mother performed the practice of turning kitchen waste into gold as kids, and we used to run away from the smell. I was lucky enough to know about Vani Murthy’s profile.
She talks in and out about composting; I have seen her in many videos trying to understand why she is stressing so much about composting. I have understood that 60% of our household waste is organic. We are already reducing waste by applying compost as a day-to-day activity. You will save so much money after using the kitchen waste as composting, for this Vani Murthy ma’am is my inspiration.
Q) Usually, people consider farming or agriculture not for everyone. What is your take on that?
Mayank Sharma: Agriculture and farming are for everyone. The time has changed now. You don’t need farmland to do farming and agriculture. It can be done at a playspace, terrace, or closed space. Our generations can be the drivers of change. The change is visible; technologies are coming into the agriculture sector.
It is not limited to certain areas and people. One can grow vegetables in a closed space. That’s why content creators like us are here to make you aware that vegetables can be grown on your terrace; even if you have a balcony, vegetables can be grown. In addition to that chief minister of Delhi, Mr. Arvind Kejriwal, announced a couple of days back that they will have a thrust on urban farming.
Q. People don’t have a very sustainable approach, which is the actual need in the present day; how do you wish to motivate others to take up zero-waste organic life?
Mayank Sharma: Starting from somewhere is necessary. Start small; for example, if you previously produced 100% of your food waste, switching to a zero waste organic lifestyle may cause you to produce 60% less waste. I wouldn’t say I live a zero-waste organic life, but I strive to lead one.
This would have a significant impact if we were to multiply a 60% reduction in waste generation by the world’s population. The plan is to get going. We cannot move past the point when we ask, “What difference will it make if I advance a step?” If If I had held the same opinion, I would not currently be a content creator. I won’t be informing 110k people that you can also live and produce food without chemicals on your balcony.
If you want to get motivated, take a step. When you pluck the first vegetable from your garden, for the first time, when you make your organic waste compost, that will be your defining moment. That’s my 30 seconds pitch to the people at large.
Q) Everyone has a journey and their fallbacks; tell us something about your journey and how you navigated through all the challenges in life.
Mayank Sharma: The curve always rises and falls; it does not always move upwards. I occasionally face my fair share of difficulties. Life is never simple. Let’s not exploit these difficulties as an alibi. I lost the strongest support of my life when I lost my father at a young age. I had no idea how to control my spending.
I have to care for my mother, two younger siblings, and my mother, but I constantly have to accomplish something large. I always kept in mind the idea of achieving something significant with a clear purpose in mind. My father is my motivation, and I want to live up to his expectations. All of these things drove me. There hasn’t been a day where I didn’t miss my father, nor a day where I didn’t practice what he preached to me.
Sometimes you have to go with the flow and keep in mind the positive things that were said to you by important people, by individuals you completely trusted, and by people you thought were your role models. They might be your mother, father, coworkers, or pals. That is what motivates me because I never assumed I knew everything.
I’ve always chosen to be inspired in all facets of my life. For the last 8 months, I continuously bought videos on my YouTube channel, but I didn’t give up. Even the content creation journey wasn’t straight. I made a video before with no 1000 followers on Instagram, saying we will keep trying every day.
I always swear by Jack Ma, the founder of Ali baba says, “Today is difficult, tomorrow is much more difficult, and the day after tomorrow is much more beautiful. most people die tomorrow evening.” I never wanted to be the person who died tomorrow evening, just before sunrise.
I kept trying and thought of trying the reels form if the long video form wasn’t working. That was the time when everyone loved the content. There can be multiple ways to reach your goal; you need to keep trying multiple permutation combinations. You never know which permutation combinations work well. It would be best if you kept trying.
Q) You have more than 100k followers on Instagram. What do you think helped you acquire this community on social media? What do you think resonated with your followers?
Mayank Sharma: on April 7th, 2022, I hit the 1000 followers mark, and in three months, my Instagram page hit 100k followers. Several content creators have asked the same question how did you do this so early? My reply was – I didn’t do anything different I just did what I felt was right; the information I provided to my audience was simple and the right information, and the language barrier. I figured out that the language liked by all is Hinglish.
What happens is the audience from the south will understand English a little bit, and the audience from the north will understand Hindi much. You have to keep the audience as the citizens of India. You have to use language that is understandable by all. Hinglish is not an Indian language, but it is understandable by most people. My audience is primarily 25 to 35 years of age, so use that language where you can easily connect with the audience.
I am trying to make my kitchen gardening cooler by making my daughter a part of my Instagram content. I think these things are liked by my audience the most. I looked for something people were doing the most, and I got more responses.
Mayank Sharma has been an inspiration for one and all. Growing vegetables on the terrace, taking a step towards zero waste life, tuning kitchen waste into the composite, he is showing everything is possible when you are determined towards your goal. We wish Mayank Sharma all the very best in his future endeavors and for keeping the audience motivated through the content of organic farming.
Check out the super interesting conversation with Mayank Sharma on our YouTube Channel.