Tuesday, September 4, 2018

My City My Responsibility - Thought for Food

Dear All, 

Myron Mendes and Ajita Tiwari - organizers of the workshop
Last Saturday I got an opportunity to participate in a workshop on Food Sustainability. The best part of this workshop was the engagement of people from varied fields, right from foodies, food bloggers, doctors, dietitians, nutritionists, media people, academicians, entrepreneurs to ground level experts working with fisher folks, farmers and tribal communities.
Laya resource centre in coordination with The Indian Network of Ethics and Climate Change (INECC) came up with the  concept of Building people's agenda towards resilient food choices. The whole idea of this workshop focused on looking at food choices that we should be making in this age of changing climate in order to sustain ourselves. The impact climate change is having on our food, its availability and demand for feeding around 10 billion people in this century is going to be one of the biggest challenges especially for India since it will be the most populous country and most vulnerable to climate risks. 

Dr. Priyadarshini Karve opened the session with her expertise on the science of climate change and its impacts in the light of food availability followed by a game on understanding food resource and its sustainability and a TED talk on global food crisis. Her session indeed was an eye opening and delivered a straight forward message that sensitized everyone about the gravity of the upcoming challenges of food availability.

Session by Ganesh Nakhwa who is closely working with the fisher folk stressed on grave realities of climate change and its impacts faced by the fishing community due to sea surface temperature rises that is in turn affecting seafood availability. He recommended diversification in sea food choices instead of obsession with prawns and pomfret. Many other fish varieties are preferable in terms of availability, cost and nutritional value.

Session by Manoj Dawale along with a local farmer Rajendra of Vikas Sahyog Pratisthan from Buldana district shared with us an indigenous poem of a prosperous farmer for whom his yield is his gold. They stressed on the hardships the farmer is undergoing today due to lack of support and acknowledgement that disregards his hard work. Rather than monetary support, his efforts need recognition and value. Responding to the game on sustainability, Rajendra mentioned how a farmer believes in taking only that much what is required and believes in reserving for the future and his fellow humans. Lessons on food security can be learnt from our own farmers! Listening to a farmer who actually toils for the food that we get on our plate, was an emotional moment for all of us.

Session by an entrepreneur Cassandra Nazareth, empowering the tribal adivasi communities of Aarey colony in Mumbai gave us a shock when she said that some villages there still have no electricity. A metropolitan city and commercial capital of India, having hidden villages without electricity......seriously, where are we heading!!! She introduced us to a tribal women who was a bit shy but still conversed quite well and invited us to have a tribal lunch which is one of the key initiatives taken by Cassandra, where people get to visit the tribal community, taste their food and can buy artistic stuff made by them. A short session by Deepti Jhangiani involved in Mumbai farm project introduced us to urban agriculture happening in Mumbai. It was good to know that a few citizens and experts are volunteering for such initiatives even in a congested and polluted city like Mumbai.
It was indeed a great feeling listening to all of them. Later on, there were two short sessions one on nutritional value of food by Dr. Subhadra Mandalika who stressed on the importance of balanced diet having appropriate intake of proteins, vitamins, micro nutrients, fats and carbohydrates both through vegetarian as well as non-vegetarian diet was a good take away. Lastly, Simona Terron introduced us to podcasting as a good media for communication on any issues of social concern, including food. 

Guest speakers from left Dr. Priyadarshini K, top Cassandra N and tribal women, bottom Myron M and Ganesh N, right Manoj D with Rajendra 

In this age of sustainability, changing individual consumption patterns, shifting to local and diversified food options, having balanced diet, minimizing food wastage are some of the local solutions towards food sustainability. I am grateful to Myron Mendes for inviting me to this workshop and glad it has made me reflect more on my food habits.

All Puneites - if anyone is interested to have similar workshop in Pune, kindly comment or email me! 

Pournima Agarkar.


nitin said...

Hello Pournima. That was an enlightening discussion. Is it possible to have a session in Goa?


N Kanitkar

Pournima Agarkar said...

Thanks Nitin,
I am not sure if we can do it in Goa....however when it will be arranged in Pune I will let you know for sure.

Suren said...

Missed the session, Pournima, but enjoyed reading about the enlightening sessions. This should be conducted in as many places around India as possible where climate change is having a serious impact on marine and riverine life, and agriculture and crop yields.
Cfr: https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/energy-and-environment/global-warming-may-have-devastating-effects-on-rice/article23980664.ece and http://www.worldwatch.org/node/6271

nitin said...

Thank you Pournima.