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A note on the issue: putting down roots

Our cover story this week looks at startups that are making the dream of returning to the land a reality for a growing number of people

Vincent van Gogh’s ‘First Steps, After Millet’, 1890.
Vincent van Gogh’s ‘First Steps, After Millet’, 1890. (Wikimedia Commons)

My father often quotes Alexander Pope’s Ode On Solitude while reminiscing about growing up close to nature and the land. Having spent most of my life in apartment blocks in cities, I have never grasped the appeal of farming. I have the awed respect of one who does not truly understand for those whose knowledge of soil, climate, chemistry and biology comes together to grow food for everyone else.

I don’t yearn to grow my own food but going back to the land to farm seems to be a hunger many have—it’s common to hear Bengalureans talk about wanting to farm organically, grow miniature papayas and tomatoes, and live net-zero lives. And in true Bengaluru style, there are startups trying to help them achieve this—“managed farms” are an emerging asset class for those who want to own land and feel connected to nature without really getting their hands dirty, as our cover story explains.

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Essentially, one buys a plot that’s part of a larger farm, builds a house, and visits and works the land whenever one has the time or feels the desire to be one with nature. The rest of the year, the company has a team of real farmers who manage every aspect of the actual and complex work of farming. It’s a convenient way to buy into the dream of finding one’s own corner of the earth.

In this issue, we are also reintroducing our Books page, as a fortnightly, with a new look.There are few things we love more than books, stories, reading and writing at Lounge, and I am really thrilled that the page is back. Few publications write on books, both fiction and non-fiction, new and old, in the measured and meticulous way Lounge does. Over the past year, we have scattered our coverage throughout our pages, and we are now bringing it all together in a dedicated space—we have short, sassy reviews as well as longer, more exhaustive ones but irrespective of length, they are all done with the same rigour. Enjoy your weekend read.

Write to the Lounge editor or on Twitter @shalinimb

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