Looking back on the highlights of 2014 for me, a dream came true along with 9 other friends. We call ourselves, “Citizens for Clean Food”. Our dream is to make the organic movement accelerate so that pesticide free foods are the norm and not the exception.
How Pesticides Came About
It used to be that way before the second world war when the ammunition factories lying idle after the war ended, discovered that they could use the same chemicals used to make bombs, to kill rodents and pests thereby giving bumper crops initially. The problem with this goal is that it only serves to keep the commercial returns of pesticide factories robust while slowly poisoning the humans who are eating this food on a daily basis and over the years destroying the life in the soil and making it barren.
You may have heard about the TV show Satyamev Jayate that carried a whole episode titled Poison on your Plate about this subject. I urge you to watch it in full to educate yourself.
Why Pesticides Are Harmful
The 10 of us are deeply concerned about the food we put into our bodies and feed our loved ones and also what it is doing to the Earth in terms of pesticide run offs into soil, water and air – thereby poisoning our whole environment. We found that many of our friends were similarly concerned.
Dr. Vandana Shiva, Founder of Navdanya, calls pesticides as “war against Nature”, a very violent and unnecessary battle. We can all flourish and stay healthy with high nutrition naturally grown food if we can encourage and support farmers to adopt organic practices. This we can do by voting with our money and using it to invest in clean, organic foods. After all, businesses will follow where the money goes. The is the basic economic law of demand and supply. And once the demand is huge enough, our aim is that the organic farmers will reach economies of scale so that the premium associated with organic foods is diminished eventually.
The Launch Of The Market
So armed with hope in our hearts and dreams in our minds, we launched the Gurgaon Organic Farmers Market (GOFM) in November 2014 with the help of friends who were already in this movement and with whom we had relationships for years as customers and friends. We had visited their farms or knew where they sourced from and had eaten that food for several years. Now we wanted them to have a platform to take it to a larger audience and educate them about clean, wholesome organic foods that were available in our city. An arrangement for the venue was worked out by the diligent efforts of PV Naryanamoorthy with Ansal’s and the generous Sushant Lok PAOA.
What and Who You Will Find At The Market
At this market you will find freshly picked fruits and vegetables from five of our trusted farmers, Adarsh Singh Tawar, Ravi Nath, Ritu Prasad, Devika Mehra and Ila Lumba. You will also find trusted organic retailers like Live Organic, Nature’s Hub and isayorganic that source the produce from other farmers from across the country and farmer groups like Kisan Welfare Club. The retailers also carry dry groceries and other organic items. Sonia Sharma of Nature Organic prides herself in using heirloom seeds which are not hybrid. The dynamic duo of Ritu and her husband Manas Arvind provide ready to eat healthy packaged vegan food solutions through their brand Grainny’s. Ishit Pilani of Organic Express is dedicated to giving freshly made hot breakfast and healthy breads at our market. We are periodically adding new providers after the necessary checks and measures in place. (Note: While the above farmers/ retailers are providing animal products in their individual businesses except Grainny’s, they bring only plant-based offerings to the GOFM)
In 2015, our wish is to expand this platform to include more and more small farmers and ethical businesses and keep moving towards our goal of expanding the organic movement in India. Please join our GOFM group on Facebook. You can also see photos of the organic market on Facebook.
We get a lot of requests from other cities like NOIDA and Faridabad etc. for a similar venture. Since we are a group of friends and are non-profit, we would be happy to help anyone to answer any questions about how you can start such a market in your own city. Just visit us at GOFM any Sunday morning and we would be happy to have a chat over some hot breakfast!
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