| Organic farmers' market every Sunday
It’s a first for the city, and probably the nation. Mumbai’s gets its very own farmers market, where urban somethings will finally meet the real sons of the soil.
If you are what you eat, as they say, Mumbai’s denizens are a toxic lot! Processed, refined foods laced with pesticides dive into our systems, via lifestyles that have no time for real food! (For instance, endosulfan, a carcinogenic insecticide has been banned in over 60 countries, but is widely used in India).
Why farmers’ markets
Farmers markets narrow the gap between a city’s food stock and the farms where they were cultivated. They promote local, fresh produce, eliminate the middlemen and grant higher profits to the grower. Food miles are reduced, since your kanda-batata doesn’t have to globe-trot to reach your table.
How Mumbai got its first farmers’ market
Eco-nutritionist Kavita Mukhi pioneered the organic food movement in Mumbai two decades ago, and is bringing the farmers to the big city. 30 farmers from Northern Maharashtra, whose produce is organically certified by French company Ecocert, are contributing to the market. City-birds are free to chirp with the kisaans and learn about life on an organic farm. The farmers have been asked to carry as much perishable produce as possible like fruits and vegetables, since organic grains and spices are already available in (select) health food stores and bazaars in the city.
Walking the talk
This is the first farmers market that “walks the talk”, as Kavita puts it. “All wet waste generated at the venue will be composted and the dry waste will be sent for recycling. We’re also serving unrefined, organic teas, coffees, juices and eats”, she emphasises. The market will be a gyroscope of colour and activity, with film screenings, natural product stalls, games for the kids, a musical jamming session and workshops for bamboo bicycle and cycle powered generators. Likeminded souls can interact and network over a cup of organic chai!
Why this had to happen
“GM is the primary motive that encouraged me to set up the farmers’ market”, says Kavita. “It’s not food safety, but food security that is the real issue... if India begins to use genetically modified seeds, we will become slaves all over again and hundreds of our local varieties that are naturally pest-resistant will face extinction. I want rural farmers to realise that a market exists for organic produce in cities, which if sustained can become a profitable venture for themselves and future generations.”
The farmers’ market will be an ongoing affair, over the next 8 Sundays, at different venues in the city.
Timings: 9 am – 4 pm
Venue: Nilgiri Garden, Bandra Hindu Association, Linking Road, Bandra (W).
Landmarks: Opposite the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf and south-west of National College.
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If you would like to be part of the Farmers' Market and sponsor a table, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Image 1 and 2 source: www.flickr.com/photos/nataliemaynor