Vedic Village: An organic farmers’ market offering various types of jaggery, natural tea, grains, pulses, pickles, vegetables and handicraft took off at the Vedic Village on Saturday.
The focus was on variety at the second edition of The Market Place – Natural and Organic Living, in association with t2, that was inaugurated in the presence of foreign delegates, farmers, students and a steady stream of visitors in the morning. It will be on till Sunday.
At least 100 farmers and cooperatives are selling 300 types of organic and natural products directly to consumers here. From holding interactions and workshops to sharing of anecdotes, visitors will be taken on a wholesome organic journey at the event, curated by Salmoli Mukerji. Issues like farmers’ suicide and new projects will be discussed.
“This is safe food. If we can offer a variety of grains, then the organic movement will be sustainable and there will be enough to feed all,” said Arup Rakshit, the managing trustee of Mahatma Gandhi Gramodyog Seba Sansthan that is trying to revive the organic movement in the state.
Rakshit began Bish Mukto Haat, an organic farmer’s market, in 2015 on the sidelines of a book fair in Garia. Since then the market’s popularity has grown with 17 groups and NGOs participating this year
Development Research Communication and Service Centre (DRCSC) from Bengal, Living Farm from Odisha, Centre for World Solidarity – Hyderabad and Tula India – Chennai are some of the participants.
Also on the side were stalls selling garments made from national fabric, savouries, tribal jewellery, handmade musical instruments and even furniture. A cocktail bar with innovative concoctions awaited the visitors at end of their tour. “We are expecting a footfall of more than 2,000 this year,” Mukerji said.
An attraction at this year’s Bish Mukto Haat were the different types of bori (sundried cones) up for grabs. Kisma Bera of Datan in West Midnapore had on display 14 varieties of them, made of lentils, poppy seeds, tomatoes, papaya and cauliflower
Pramita Maity and her family from Contai in East Midnapore had on display eight types of it, all made of lentils. “My mother’s bori helps run the family in winter. We earn around Rs 20,000 a month,” daughter Susmita, an engineering student, said.
The guests at the inauguration were Jennifer Chang, the vice-president of International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements, the umbrella organisation of the movement. “We want to build better trust between farmers and consumers. We want more youths to join the movement,” she said.
There are around 600,000 organic farmers in India.
First published by The Telegraph