Climate change is a reality. The use of plastic seems inevitable. But what if there was a solution?
Meet Seema Prasad of Mysuru, Karnataka who has successfully found a way to reduce the use of plastic in our day-to-day life. Her answer to plastic is the unimaginable bottle gourd. She makes several items like containers, storage vessels, vases, pen stands, lampshades, etc from the thick skin of the vegetable. She launched Krishikala, her own venture, in 2017 with her husband Krishna Prasad. The women, children, corporate employees, artisans and farmers are trained to use the bottle gourds and shape them into beautiful and decorative day-to-day items. Seema’s entrepreneurship is not only sustainable, but also aims to create livelihood of tribal and rural women.
An ordinary bottle gourd usually goes unnoticed; the vegetable does not see much sale either. There are 48 varieties of bottle gourds that are on the verge of extinction. But the farmers here are now growing it in large numbers understanding the true value of bottle gourd. Selling the bottle gourd items in the market has helped in additional income generation of the farmers and has also empowered the womenfolk. Most of the items made by Krishikala are sold at around Rs 500 in the market. Seema’s inspiration was a non-governmental organization in Tanzania and Kenya which taught women to create crafts through bottle gourd. Once Seema learnt the art of making items from the vegetable, there was no stopping her. Seema aims to promote her venture all over Karnataka and expand her entrepreneurship by using other organic things like paddy, bamboo and grass.
Once the gourds are harvested, they are left for drying for around 45 days. A small hole is then made to remove the seeds and it is soaked overnight. The skin and insides are then removed and are later used to make artifacts. Krishikala is now aiming to use organic colours for their items to make them completely environmentally sustainable and eco-friendly. The future of sustainable entrepreneurship is indeed bright.