The torrential rains of the monsoon allow us a bit of a breather on the land. Mother nature waters, we sit back, eat cukes, harvest, and work minimally not letting the jungle overtake. Post monsoon, we get busy. A quick rendition…
Members – two new members have joined us on the land. In India, the cow is synonymous with the mother and considered a Goddess (Devi). Sure, the cow gives milk, but for a grower, she shits and pees all over the land. We’ve willed their presence for some years now and are stoked to be joined by these two gorgeous ladies, with their massive strength and gentle presence.
Sows – while the monsoons have stretched over by a month, we can’t pass up a sow period. We kickstarted the year with heirloom tomatoes (adding 3 new varieties to the collection from last), cucumbers (1 heirloom variety and another indigenous one), gourds (several local varieties). In store next are chillis, brinjal, radish, microgreens, and a host of weirdly coloured heirloom veggie seeds we got our hands on!
Ingredients – always foraging for food off the land. Sure, we grow, but what does the forest have for us?! This year, we were introduced to a whole list of indigenous monsoon vegs, also bamboo shoots, and we received some delightful mushroom harvests!
Ferments – our ferment continues to brew, feed for the soil, bubbling with life as we continually add new ingredients off the land
Harvests – harvests have included gourds, herbs, pumpkins, and flowers
Making Friends and Foes – as we ogle at the beauty and variety of nature’s creation, and delve into what role they play on the land… well, we make some friends and some foes. For the burrower, our til is kept to a mimimum. And the hornworm in all it’s beauty, does feed off our saplings and is now fed to the fish.
Spreading the knowledge – our goal is to see all growers evolve to clean practices. This year, we have begun work on PurnaMadhuVan, a plot of land around the bend from us, committed to growing clean and nutritious food. Here, starting from the blank slate, we sowed fruit trees for future generations, herbs for a couple years down, shared with them several of our saplings, and shared with you their bitter gourd and pumpkin.
And now, it’s back to the land.
The experience commenced with 2500 folk hailing from across the globe, with a single common thread – food. The goal – bringing together to strengthen our food system and creating a global vision of good food.
It’s easy to forget when on land with one’s head in the earth that we’re not alone. This gathering put energy and passion back into our work. A reminder of the pure joy in what we do and why. The food system doesn’t need just growers and fishers; it needs educators, bankers, activists, distributors, chefs, consumers… it needs and touches us all.
The massive collective was hosted by the Slow Food Youth Network. Conceived by Joris Lohman, and given birth to with the work of innumerable hands including the amazing Kumud Dadlani (Slow Food India coordinator, steward of Vrindavan Farm, and Food Analyst with Impressario), Francesco Anastasi, Ilara Capria, Maham Rizvi, and many many dedicated and passionate individuals.
The Indian delegate team included Ananda Teertha Pyati (founder of Sahaja Samrudha Organic), Kegitar Lyngkhoi (an Associate in North East Slow Food and Agrobiodiversity Society NESFAS), Rohit Jain (an Indigenous food activist and initiator of Banyan Roots Organic), Achintya Anand (an R&D Chef growing his own micro greens Krishi Cress), Shivani Unakar (student of Hotel Management and Food Studies at Christ University who is already changing the nature of food (returning traditional dishes to the plate, and dealing with food waste)), Gaurav Gurjar (a passionate Permaculture designer, and creator of urban food forests with Swechha India), Ankita Kapoor and Siddhant Mehra (the young and energetic couple of C Green that have initiated many organic farmers markets and are only at the beginning of their venture), Aravindan Neelamegam (organic producer of millets, pulses, traditional paddy and more), and Gaytri Bhatia (environmental analyst, grower and steward of Vrindavan Farm).
The largest experience one walks away with from such a meeting is the network of dedicated individuals in food. Between conference sessions, over meals soaking in the sun, during lengthy bus journeys along the Alps, and over nuts and wine in the late night and early morning hours.. we shared of our experiences, learned from each other, created a vision, and simply spread the energy and love of our work… Encounters included, the lovely ladies of South Africa who exuded positivity and peace – slow food coordinator Zayaan Khan, seed banker Tania Jacobs, and activist Liliana; The passionate South African fisher, Christian Adams, driven to change the world for our children.. Staying abreast with government and policies Christian sees clearly that the people must work for their own interests; Lebanon fruit and vegetable farmer and bee keeper Raed, whose very being demonstrates the simplicity of our work; Ever-kind founder and educator of FACT Collective Gai Lai Mitwichan; Small scale producer Daniella Rodriguez Besosa, who in only 2 years has been growing, educating, and hosting youth on her farm in Puerto Rico, and supported by her sister’s CSA efforts feed the community local and good produce; Creator of delectable Yere chocolates Amona from the Ivory Coast; Indonesian farmers Afi and Emick; Food philosopher David Deijmann, and boy, so many more.
The International Slow Food Movement was envisioned by Carlo Petrini, of Bra, Italy. Driven to make a stance against fast food, he’s dedicated his life to bringing slow and well grown food to global status.
It’s a good reminder for me, this paradigm shift we are experiencing in food. Food had became wrought with marketing, brands, labels, certifications, packaging and moved far from the true nature and experience of it. But here we see the hands in food today don’t want to output fastforwarded wholesale junk. They come from passion, from earth stewardship, from pure love… wanting to produce and share food in its holistic and true form.