Monika Dodeja Chowdhry holds a B.Sc in Math and an MBA degree and belongs to a loving family that constitutes her husband and two kids. She was working in a good position in one of the Big Four but left the job to follow her passion.
The fearless woman said in an interview “When I decided to quit my career, I was sure of two things – one, that I will pursue my passion and second, I won’t create another online platform for it. I had to do something of my own and on the field.”
When she took the decision of following her passion by quitting her 15-year-old career, her husband told her about his friend who was trying to get into a training course at the Directorate of Mushroom Research (DMR). She immediately applied for the course and got the chance to attend it in April 2018. After its completion, she rented a small room to experiment with what she learned.
Problems occurred during the initial phase as whenever she consulted someone from the same field to clear the air about certain things like how to get rid of pests, or how to fertilize the farm, they would suggest her to use chemicals. Despite hearing this from almost everybody she was determined to grow everything organically. So, she had no option but to throw away the bad batches of mushrooms.
This was a learning phase for her and slowly, she overcame all of her problems. In the first month, she harvested about 20-25 kg of mushrooms and now she grows an average of 45kg per week. She also has an online portal ‘The Mushrooms Hub’ where the common mass can buy mushrooms. However, at present, she grows a variety of oyster mushrooms.
Monika Chowdhry also holds workshops to deliver her farming methods has trained a wide range of people including women from rural areas of Chhattisgarh to women of South Delhi. She never shied away from sharing her knowledge with people.
In fact, on most occasions she is eager to share her tricks on how to cut costs by methods of recycling, composting and reuse. It took her a lot of time to understand and get familiar with the whole process of cultivating edible organic mushrooms for the people. She worked very hard grasping all the techniques and methods.
Since Monika knows how tough it is to grow mushrooms organically, she wants to help individuals who are into farming. In her workshop, she discusses the investment, the learning curves, the challenges and everything else that concerns about farming on a domestic or a commercial scale. It usually talks about the cultivation of oyster mushrooms which are relatively easy to grow.
She is also planning to hire people who suffer from hearing disabilities to make them financially independent by training them. She also intends to help women in rural areas by inspiring them to work and break social barriers.