lifestyle

Farmers as food educators

On Sunday, a healthy food market in Madurai will help to reconnect people to their food system

Make your grocery shopping a bit more enjoyable in Madurai this Sunday by visiting a marketplace of organic produce. When you purchase the GI tagged hill garlic (malai poondu) of Kodaikanal, spices and artisanal tea from Idukki, a special samrani made from the medicinal Kungiliam tree by the tribal community in Valparai, the organically grown keerais and other vegetables, it will be an opportunity to support the local economy and introduce your family, especially children, to new products as well.

The marketplace curated by Krishnan Subramanian, the co-founder of Yellow Bag Foundation, will help visitors understand the farm-to-table journey of the foods we eat. Besides farmers, many like-minded individuals from the region who are doing their bit for the environment will also be there to talk about their experiments and experiences in sustainable living, promoting nature, becoming a conscious consumer, creatively reusing things and exploring their cities to know and understand the importance and relevance of local history, culture, people and the produce.

“It will be an experience you won’t forget soon," assures Krishnan, who has named the day’s event as ‘Yaadhum healthy food market’ because he believes healthy food is a starting point for a better community.

It is his wish to create an ecosystem with families who aspire to consume healthy sustainable food, experts who would inspire such families and producers who would enable the same. The format drawn up for the day’s event is not just a shopping festival but an occasion where visitors will meet and build relationships and get plugged into a larger responsible community that cares for the environment.

About two dozen organic farmers are expected to bring their farm fresh produce and sell directly to the visitors while narrating the challenges they face in tilling the land and the sweet success stories of their labour when they are able to reach healthy crops to the consumers. In another corner, children will be kept engaged in book reading sessions by the team of Thumbi , the bilingual children’s magazine while Uma Sankar, an organic farmer from Sholavandan will teach them how to grow healthy plants at home and also make natural dyes.

Several other parallel sessions will be held throughout the day with key influencers . For instance, Bengaluru-based Mahesh Kumar, who has built an eco-friendly house for Rs.20,000 in 120 days in Tiruvannamalai will interact with the visitors on the Japanese way of minimalism. Other sessions that will fill up the day include home gardening by nature enthusiast Dipitha Dilipan, how to become a conscious consumer by documentary film maker Vishnu Priya. These apart, benefits of homeschooling, respecting nature by recycling things, learning about the city’s ancient history and the local landmarks and discovering lesser travelled spots in Tamil Nadu will also be discussed.

“It is my dream to create a unique platform for sampling new things," says Krishnan. When he came to Madurai five years ago, he felt lonely and connected with like-minded people to make himself more useful to the city. He wants to spread the same positivity among people. “I want them to have fun and responsible conversations, taste some unique foods and make it a memorable outing with the family,” he says and adds, “conducting the event during the pandemic is beneficial as people would be initiated into a sustainable lifestyle.”

rishnan plans to make the healthy food market a monthly event that will travel across the city. He is kickstarting on February 21 at the Cheese Corner in Chokkikulam. Timings 9 am to 3 pm. Visitors are requested to wear mask and maintain social distancing as per the norms. For further queries call 8838601352

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