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Organic produce, recipes & films: Don’t miss this food fest at Dilli Haat on Sunday

Ethical produce, lost recipes, films and a magic show: a few reasons to visit Bhoomi Ka’s Saawan Mela in Dilli Haat this Sunday

fitness Updated: Jul 29, 2017 08:52 IST
Madhulika Dash
Madhulika Dash
Hindustan Times
Organic,organic festival,Dilli Haat festival
Go organic with fresh fruits and vegetables(Shutterstock)

How do you know that the apple you picked is organic? Or that the honey isn’t bottled sugar but the real deal? Or, if the word ‘organic’ on your tea packet really stands for naturally grown produce? If these questions baffle you as you grapple with trying to eat healthy and natural, then the Saawan Mela in Dilli Haat this weekend may be just the place to clear the air.

Organised by Bhoomi Ka - India for Eco Food, a food campaign started by specialists, farmers and marketing enthusiasts along with organisations such as Millets For Health, Asian Heritage Foundation and Living Farms, Sawaan Mela is the second large-scale initiative by the campaign to simplify “organic food”. Or, as Nachiket Udupa, an organic food specialist and member of the group, describes it – to help you know your food the way you know your friend or doctor.

Incidentally, it was this very search to know your food – where it comes from, how is it grown and stored – says campaign coordinator, Ayush, which led to the birth of the campaign that saw some of the most prestigious names in the organic market join hands with Living Farms to create modules that would not only promote the concept of organic, but also demystify it.

Organic honey (Shutterstock)

‘Organic’ in India has too wide a definition. That’s why a festival like this is almost an education for lay people. It is designed like a carnival, complete with tasting theatres, films and a magic show, rather than a run-of-the mill farmers’ market. “Our melas are designed not just to showcase the produce but also present the various ways in which you can incorporate it into your lifestyle,” says Ayush. “This is one of the many reasons that much like the Ashadh Mela, this one too will have produce which falls into the ‘local mile genre’ – i.e, fruits grains and vegetable sourced from the neighbouring states of Madhya Pradesh (MP), Uttar Pradesh (UP), Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh (HP).” For the mela, tea is being sourced from farmers of HP and fermented food, from the tribes of MP. A special workshop on honey is being conducted by bee expert, Rakesh Gupta of the Golden Hive Foundation. The idea is to change the perception that food only from certain areas is authentic because it was traditionally grown there.

Home-growers who have turned organic into a way of life and have been part of Bhoomi Ka initiatives include Aparna Rajagopal from Beejom who grows some of the best moringa, celery, peppermint and bajra, which she uses in her delicious muffins and jams; or Snehlata Yadav of Tijara Organic Farms, whose farm-stays are a good introduction to healthy eating. A vast network of food producers and artisanal home chefs are also part of this carnival. Another highlight is the screening of Black Ticket Films’ two miniseries on food – ‘Akulappa’s Bounty’ and ‘Our Recipes and Our Stories’.

Stalls of organic dishes are other attractions. “For our last initiative, for instance, we had a farmer make Ragi Golgappa!

Another created a stir by making a summer salad with all the greens growing in his farm during summer. In fact, we have producers who come to the mela with dishes that they have made from farm-fresh produce, ” adds Ayush.

Adds Udupa, “The Saawan Mela has all the elements of a carnival, and we also hope to make people more aware of the food they eat.”

What: Saawan Mela, all-day organic food festival

When: July 30, 11am-7pm

Where: Dilli Haat, INA

Nearest metro station: INA

First Published: Jul 28, 2017 19:18 IST