Amidst the green organic fields of Igrah village located in Jind district of Haryana, Bhoomi Ka organised a Clean, Green and Fair Food meet where farmers practicing organic farming, retailers doing business with organic food and consumers from local as well as Delhi NCR areas participated. This 3-day organic fair organised from 17th to 19th February 2021 centered on the theme ‘Our Organic Food Bowl’ and over the days witnessed a footfall of more than 600 attendees.
Facilitating organic networks
‘Our Organic Food Bowl’ fair facilitated in creating dialogues on the importance of organic value chains, vital role of every stakeholder in the organic discussions, providing market-linkages, and strengthening organic networks. The event commenced with the inauguration of a Common Facility Center by Shri Manbir Redhu, Managing Director of Jind Organics in the presence of 260 participants.
Jind Organics is a farmer producer organization (FPO) with 10 directors and 90 members. They have mapped more than 40 organic food products which were displayed during the 3-day meet. Two more FPO groups from Fazilka and Gurdaspur in Punjab also took part in this meet. 5 Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) were signed between the farmers of Jind Organics and the retailers from Delhi NCR to strengthen market linkages. Head of these FPOs shared their aims and objectives in further strengthening and realizing their organic goals.
Retails and ecopreneurs also played an active role at the meet. Deepak Sabarwal, founder of Earthy Tales, who gave up a lucrative corporate job to follow his passion of growing and promoting organic food, was part of the food meet. He shared his experience of working in the organic sector so far and stressed on his mission to make clean and green food chain sustainable. The event also supported other ecopreneurs such as Sarla and Jitender Mann, founders of Husband Wife farm, new market linkages and training to plan sustainable business development strategies.
Farmers played a crucial role at the event. Tarsen Singh who started organic farming after retiring as a school Principal in Hosiarpur shared about the harmful effects of chemical methods of farming with the attendees. Organic farmer groups and individual producers showcased their organic food products like Monofloral Mustard Honey, Moringa leaf powder, Bajra cookies, Chyawanprash, organic vegetables, seeds, grains, amla based products, oils, bajra flour and more.
The event facilitated market linkages which resulted in farmers receiving purchase order for 10 Kgs of Honey and 50 Kgs of Jaggery on the first day of the meet. Bhoomi Ka also handed over two sealing machines to support two villagers from Igrah – Satpal who belongs to backward class and Mandeep who suffers from walking disability. These machines are used for packing of products. During the event, Jind Organics launched their social media platform to increase their reach out and share information about new developments and achievements.
Trainings on social enterprise and business development
During the 3-day event, training sessions were organised for farmers on social enterprise. As part of the training, Ms Sharayu from Rukart explained the difference between social enterprise and social business. Dr. Ramesh, chief scientist of KVK Pindara spoke about quality control issues and the concept of cleaning by Neem water, Dhatura and Nirgundi.
Subodh Tandon, an experienced Business Development trainer and social entrepreneur, discussed about the importance of a social enterprise during another training session. Incubation of social enterprise, loan facility and other schemes were explained by Vikram, Business Manager Agriculture Business Center, CCSHAU of Hissar. He also conducted an interactive training session on the third day of the event. He discussed case studies and strategies about developing a sustainable Business Plan emphasizing on the importance of ethics, vision and mission, legal compliance, capital, monitoring and evaluation mechanism, and plans for future while developing a business plan framework. 23 farmers who attended the worksop on social enterprise and business development plan were issued certificate of participation by Bhoomi Ka.
The attendees shared their experiences and feedback on the event. Muralidhar Dhondial, an organic farmer from Uttarakhand, expressed his sheer satisfaction after visiting this fair. He found the concept of FPO very helpful and relevant. Ashu Goswami Bhateja, a consumer from Delhi, attended this meet with her husband. She acknowledged her responsibility as a consumer after attending the sessions. Ashu went home determined to transform her kitchen into an organic one for the health of family.
Organised field exposure visits
On second day of the event, an exposure visit for farmers was organised to an organic Jaggery and Desi Khand production unit. Jai Bhagwan, the owner of the unit explained the process of making organic jaggery and desi khand to the participants. The farmers discussed the methodology of price determination and scope of demonstration and food tasting. The women of the village shared recipes of Bajra profit. The participants were also taken to a nearby village for traditional recipe demonstration – Khichri with Gojee and Malai Misri, a traditional sweet delight.
Creating an organic conscious future generation
The children are the future of a nation. With the aim to encourage the future generation to actively participate in the process of growing and consequently eating clean, green and nutritious food, two schools were made part of the event. Bhoomi Ka team visited students of RBM Senior Secondary School and Government Girls Middle School who were explained about the importance of biodiversity and ecological farming through a drawing activity.
100 gardening kits were also distributed to encourage them to know their food by growing their own nutrition garden. Around 295 students and teachers participated in the drawing activity, and 100 gardening kits (grow bags) were distributed among students. Students were also presented with Bhoomi Ka t-shirts, Bhoomi ka story cum colouring books and certificates so that the message of clean, green, and fair food stays with them.
Through this event, the Bhoomi Ka team renewed the discussion and dialogue around organic farming in India is a post pandemic world. The event not only brought together all the important stakeholders in the organic value chain but also spread awareness and knowledge on organics through various communications products such as around 4000 flyers highlighted information on popular products like millets, wheat, mustard oil, and rice were distributed.
Bhoomi Ka is a ‘collaborative solidarity network’ envisioned to transform the food system with its primary focus on sustainable consumption and production practices. Supported under the European Union SwitchAsia project, Bhoomi Ka’s aims to promote the switch to consumption of sustainable ecological foods by influencing both demand as well as the supply.