Nature in your basket

September 2017

By Melissa Nazareth

Economic and environmental instabilities caused by harmful agricultural practices are universal problems and demand attention. Eco-nutritionist, Kavita Mukhi’s pioneering efforts have inspired numerous organic markets all over India that are supporting rural farmers, Melissa Nazareth finds out

Sanjay Pawar has been practising organic farming for the past 15 years. He switched from conventional farming because he couldn’t meet the production costs and afford the low profits associated with it. Moreover, he realised that if he wanted to pass down a fertile land to his future generations, he must stop using chemical fertilisers and pesticides. “Though organic farming improved the quality of land and produce, lack of suitable marketing platforms was a big challenge,” says Sanjay. “We grow fruits and vegetables in our localities but how do we sell these to people in, say, Mumbai city?” That’s when he approached Kavita Mukhi, Founder of The Farmers’ Market in Mumbai, eight years ago. “It is a great platform that connects local organic farmers directly with consumers. I manage a cooperative of certified organic farmers and we have been participating right from the first season.” Sanjay goes on to share that the farmers’ economic stability has improved ever since. “We decide the prices for our produce, which allows us to cover costs while keeping a reasonable mark up.”

Sunday fun day

The Farmers’ Market is hosted every Sunday, throughout the year, at D’Monte Park in Bandra, Mumbai. It’s a lively space with stalls selling a variety of items including organic fruits and vegetables and earth-friendly, manufactured or packaged products. Everything about the venue shouts ‘clean and green.’ Happy consumers walking about clad in organic fabrics and carrying up-cycled bags made from newspaper; refreshing concoctions sold in glass bottles that you can return after you’ve finished drinking, in exchange for a small refund of the price you paid; cooked food being served in recyclable paper plates with wooden spoons instead of plastic ones, give the environment a very special feel. I particularly enjoyed the red rice idli served with a delicious garlic and chilli chutney.

Tree Wear - Ecological Living, the eco-lifestyle brand founded by brothers, Mishal and Mikail Pardiwala,  had made its debut at the Market. They, along with Kavita, co-organised ‘Trade for Trees’, a project to fund tree plantation by selling up-cycled and
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