Inspirations behind the Billion Trees and Beyond - Dr. B N Viswanath and the Organic Terrace Gardening communities he has fostered in and beyond Bengaluru

(Photo courtesy - Dr. Viswanath's Facebook profile)

Dr. Viswanath is considered as a father figure in the OTG (Organic Terrace Gardening) communities in Bengaluru. This article focuses on the inspiration aspects of Dr. Viswanath in the context of Billion Trees and Beyond only, and does not even attempt to do full justice to his personality, engagements, achievements and legacy.

Dr. Viswanath is more loved than respected in our OTG communities. This is because of the down to earth presence he brings when he is with the community, whether he is interacting with an individual or a team or a big crowd. He is quite a natural in everything he is and he does.

Dr. Viswanath is in retirement from his illustrious career which included academics, creative productions, professional bodies etc. etc., but he is more well known to common folks like me in the OTG communities for pioneering the OTG movement and heading the Garden City Farmers trust, responsible for the famous Oota from Your Thota (OFYT) movement.

His activism around OTG has helped to inspire thousands of people of all age to come forward and start organic terrace gardening. Even in his elder years, he has been extremely busy with teaching,  leadership, activism, organizing, various types of events and many types of formal and informal engagements around his presence across multiple contexts. Yet, he makes time to maintain a terrace garden at his home.  In spite of his busy engagements, he makes himself available to the OTG communities and voluntarily endures personal hardship in this elder age, to be with the community towards fostering inspirations, confidence, action and organizations.

Garden City Farmers is a formal trust formed around very committed youngsters who have engaged in multiple activism, most important of which is the Oota from Your Thota (OFYT), the theme of which is to Grow What you Eat and Eat What You Grow.  This theme is the main driving factor of thousands of organic terrace gardeners in Bengaluru. The OFYT events have been very instrumental in promoting organic terrace movement in Bengaluru. Dr. Viswanath's leadership to the Garden City Farmers has been very instrumental behind this success.

Dr. Viswanath's cheer-leadership and down to earth presence has inspired many OTGians to come up with local informal OTG communities across Bengaluru. There are close to two dozen such communities that have come up in the last four years, and it is possible that this number could eventually reach beyond 200, to ensure coverage for each of the wards of Bruhut Bengaluru.

Dr. Viswanath has extended his collaborative support for any other activism related to sustainability in Bengaluru, which include urban waste management, composting, toxin free food, green cover, green related entrepreneurship etc. etc.  Therefore, it is automatic that Dr. Viswanath blesses Billion Trees and Beyond drive too. It will be a fitting honor to him as this movement grows phenomenally with the help of OTG communities in Bengaluru and beyond.

When we are engaged in the context of green and sustainability, there is a need to leverage common sense and humility. Dr. Viswanath brings these strengths through his presence everywhere, and will be an inspiration for all concerned for increased activism, leadership, innovations and results.

Paint Bengaluru Green and Billion Trees and Beyond, both these movements are in the infancy stage and are yet to make a mark towards honoring Dr. Viswanath. But, I am very confident that we can ride on the constant inspirations and support from him, the organizations and events associated with him, and the larger formal and informal communities inspired by him.

Thank you Sir.
Bowing down in all humility and honor,

Nataraja Upadhya

Founder, Billion Trees and Beyond
Founder, Paint Bengaluru Green and More (ಬೆ೦ಗಳೂರಿಗೆ ಹಸಿರು ಓಕುಳಿ)


1. Dr. Viswanath Resume:

2. Garden City Farmers website


  1. He made sure that his work continues after him. He has made many of his students as leader who spread his message of grow what you eat.


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