FEATURE | Slow Food Movement: Bringing communities together
By Ibankyntiew Mawrie| JUNE 08, 2019:
With an aim to help communities realize the importance of indigenous food system and its contribution towards food sovereignty and nutrition, the North-East Slow Food and Agro-biodiversity Society organised the monthly Mei-Ramew Farmers' Market today at their office premises in Laitumkhrah, Shillong.
"Through this farmers' market, we share our knowledge on various locally grown edibles and we also try to show the communities that it is possible to cook tasty meals with the same set of food items that they get locally," NESFAS Chairperson, Phrang Roy told The Northeast Today here on Saturday.
Roy informed that this initiative was started in 2017 and it is usually held once a month (every second Saturday) and so far, as many as 120 communities from across the state have come forward to share their knowledge and recipes for local cuisines and edibles.
The market is also being replicated by NESFAS partners in other states of the Northeast and in Meghalaya, the same is being held in Jaintia Hills, Ri Bhoi and West Khasi Hills.
FAST FOOD VS SLOW FOOD
With the advent of fast food industry, it is becoming all the more difficult to preserve the age-old knowledge on indigenous and nutritious food and to get the youths and children interested in indigenous delicacies.
When asked about the challenges, Roy, who is also a retired diplomat, said that in a fast moving world where the demand is greater than supply, local farmers depend on subsidized and high-yielding seeds to increase production in a short span of time.
"Because of this, farmers give away their seeds and opt for the subsidized seeds. For eg, there are about 12 varieties of millets in Sohra Rim and Khat-ar-shnong, but now they are down to 5," said Roy.
Amid the competition from the fast food industry, NESFAS has been working towards strengthening the local communities, encouraging them to preserve the indigenous food.