To feed the growing appetite for organic food, farmers from across Maharashtra will hold a weekly Farmers’ Market from March 21 in Khar to sell fresh organic produce in the city.
Organised by eco-nutritionist and founder of Conscious Food, Kavita Mukhi, the Farmers’ Market will allow customers to buy fresh, organically certified fruits and vegetables directly from farmers.
“The organic movement is so important with the looming infiltration of genetically modified foods which will adversely affect food safety and security in India,” said Mukhi, who is also a naturalist farmer.
The market will be a boon for organic foodies like Lavina Saldana (29), an advertising executive, who has been hunting for “genuine organic food” since three years. “Farmers’ markets are common in the US and I’m so glad we’ll finally have one in Mumbai,” said Saldana.
The produce, certified organic by Ecocert India - the Indian branch of a French certification agency for organic, fair trade and good agricultural practices, will have a 10 to 15 per cent markup on regular prices.
Sanjay Pawar, an organic farmer in Nasik since ten years, said, “Directly selling our produce to the consumers will ensure that farmers get the profits which are usually eaten by middlemen. Consumers have to pay less for the produce, and we spread awareness about the benefits of eating chemical-free fruits and vegetables.”
While rural farmers will travel to the city at their own expense, they will be provided the stalls for free. “We will have paid stalls for brands to market their organic goods such as beauty products. Urban farmers wishing to sell their produce will also be charged for stalls,” said Mukhi.
While organic fruits and vegetables are available through informal home delivery systems as well as the local markets, this is the first market dedicated solely to certified organic produce. “I wanted to ensure that people get organic food and pay for it without bargaining as these farmers deserve to get paid for their labour,” said Mukhi. “The organic movement is not only important for the health of the individual but also the health of the earth.”