By Deeksha Chopra
Organic produce is gaining traction worldwide as was recently demonstrated by a socially and environmentally conscious community gathering event in New Delhi, India–an all-organic food festival. Vegetables, cereals, pulses, honey, and pickles covered tabletops; many prepared using local fruits offered by indigenous tribal population of Jharkhand region in India.
In addition to the edible produce, there were plant based fertilizers to maintain soil health, indige
nous seeds, and plant saplings for sale that can be used for planting in kitchen gardens.
Almost all sellers were local to the Delhi region and promoted a healthy way of living. Unlike a typical air market, the purpose of the event was not only to sell products but also to educate people on the importance of organic farming for our communities.
Talk shows, video sharing and live cooking demonstrations helped spread awareness about organic farming and its usefulness with the changing climatic conditions.
Encouraged by the overwhelmingly positive response from the audience, I believe such organic markets can act as a pathway connecting inhabitants of modern mega cities to nature. Such events facilitate the sharing of knowledge between food producers and food consumers, who otherwise may not get a chance to interact with each other.
The farmers selling the produce can educate the buyers about the entire food production process. The consumers also get to know that the produce is fresh, healthy, and grown without using chemicals.
Such events also offer an opportunity to teach kids about how food is grown and educate them about the importance of locally produced food. Further, it helps spread awareness about organic farming and teaches about its importance to environment and society.
Regenerative agriculture is a way to produce food along with restoring soil ecology, conserving water and enhancing biodiversity. Organic produce refers to the process that uses natural ways of production-no pesticides, minimum disturbance to soil and natural environment, GM free- to the maximum extent possible and is generally linked with farming techniques.
Government of India, through its National Programme for Organic Production (NPOP), has laid down standards for organic production, certifications, promotion of these organic farming methods and much more.
These standards have also been recognized internationally. For example, USDA recognizes the NPOP conformity assessment procedures of accreditation as equivalent to that of U.S. European commission and Switzerland have also recognized the NPOP production standards as being equivalent to the standards of their respective countries.