How to re-build Udaipur's local food system - an initiative on World Localization Day


How to re-build Udaipur's local food system - an initiative on World Localization Day

Udaipur's celebration of World Localization Day, where some bright minds from the city came together to find practical Ways to Re-build the Local Food-System in Udaipur.

 
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A unique event with a new perspective...

This World Localization Day, let us simplify the term for you. It is not just something for which the NGOs or government agencies have to work. In fact, every citizen of the society can make a world of difference by adopting the principles of ‘localization’ in their day-to-day life and only then it shall be a real success.

Now the question arises as to what the common man can do? As an individual, you cannot save the world but you can definitely contribute and look after your local place and eco-system - the local people, soil, forest, air, water, food. This is the thought behind the celebration of World Localization Day, to stimulate the ‘real value of local’ in every person and community.  

Udaipur celebrated World Localization Day through an online event, where some bright minds from the city came together to find practical Ways to Re-build the Local Food-System in Udaipur. A bonus to this event was the cookery show by Millets of Mewar towards the end of the event.

Panelists today:

  • Rohit Jain, founder of Banyan Roots and supporter of local farmers and organic farming .. he is deeply connected with the Organic Farming Movement in India. 
  • Nikita Lodha, an Udaipur resident, who has been involved in Rooftop farming in the city and supporting growing your own food movement.
  • Bhuvnesh Ojha, founder of Pukaar, an organisation involved in growing biodiverse and local trees all around Udaipur and many parts of Rajasthan.
  • Sunny and Manoj, slow food chefs and founders of Millets of Mewar- one of most innovative and healthy restaurants of Udaipur.
  • Dr Sanjay Maheshwari, an Ayurvedic practitioner and founder of Pranav Yoga Ayurvedic Healthcare. He is a big promoter of local and seasonal foods and herbs as forms of healing.
  • Vidhi Jain, co-founder at Shikahantar and a slow food enthusiast and also actively involved in Udaipur as a Learning City initiatives.
  • Krati SInghvi, co-founder of Jaisa Organics and Udaipur Farmers Market. A baker and strong promoter of eating local, fresh and organic food.

Now, the Genesis and what you can do...

Elaborating the reasons as to why one should be ‘Vocal for Local’, you can begin with sourcing kitchen staples from local food producers and farmers. This is not only good from economic point of view but if your food has to travel less to reach your table, then its nutrient density is better, fresher and it has a smaller carbon footprint. This is great for your own immunity and the environment. People running cloud kitchens or restaurants and cafes can also connect directly with the local farmers to source their fresh produce, this shall encourage the farmers to do multi-cropping  and benefit the food service provider as they can find most of their regularly required items nearby.  

Re-build healthy community and relationships with your neighbours. Organise a local food feast, participate in local farmers’ market and festival.  https://worldlocalizationday.org/localfoodfeasts/

Make composting a habit. The organic kitchen waste has all the necessary nutrients for a healthy soil. This healthy soil in turn is able to sustain a healthy plant. Segregation of waste and composting the organic matter can help in promoting healthy soil, less soil pollution, less or no carcinogenic residue of harmful chemicals and fertilizers used to enrich the poor soil. Get together with your neighbourhood’s welfare society and make communal compost pits to replenish the soil on a community basis.

Say no to the use of fertilizers and pesticides. If no living organism is eating your food, then you probably shouldn’t eat it either, is a basic principle to live by. The use of pesticides, fertilizers and GMO seeds could, for once, give you a good production yield but it shall deplete the all-round health of not just the soil, but also of the plant and the human consuming it. Nutrient deficient, commercial hydroponically produced fresh produce is also not an answer this case. Watching the movie ‘Kiss the Ground’ is highly recommended.

Revive the local recipes and food habits in your home. ‘Cook and eat what your grandmother ate’ has been established in a number of researches. This is because when you eat out of season, your body has to make an extra effort to understand and digest it. Same is the case when you only eat some particular things all-round the year. Diversity in food is important for the holistic well-being of the body and the environment. Nature has so much to offer every season, then why should we limit our diet to a few products. (Even if we have global foods available locally).

Indulge in the therapeutic activity of gardening. By gardening we mean any space you have can be utilised to grow some part of your food. Be it a designated garden space or a balcony even a kitchen/room window can help sustain a few herbs and plants. Save seeds or propagate from what you purchase. Coriander, mint, spinach, tomatoes, okra, fenugreek, lemons, rose, marigold, hibiscus are some ideas you can start with. Developing small growing patches in urban areas like, roof-tops and balconies can help in bringing down the temperature of homes. Start a little local seed bank. Multi-level local food forests in open areas of a city can help us fight hunger, increase bio-diversity and climate change at the same time.

Lastly, start talking with your local politicians about investing in soil, forest, water, air, public transport, cycling, creating infrastructure for local businesses and local farmers, etc. Work with them to stop subsidising activities which destroy nature.

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