17 January 2019
Punjab has had a rich heritage of grains of myriad varieties, each having its unique nutritional value. Because of Rice/wheat/rice cycle which was imposed on the farmers of Punjab during Green Revolution, the people of this region have been continuously denied the nutritional and a sustainable crop of Bajra, Kangni, Jowar, Ragi Kodra and other grains.
But the wrong model of Food Security and Agriculture, which was promoted in last few decades has eroded our rich Millet Diversity and Food Heritage.
Keeping this in mind, the Millet Food Festival is being organized on the 18-19 and 20 January in Punjab University, Chandigarh by the Kheti Virasat Mission. This three-day event has two parts “UTSAV” and “DIALOGUE.” Utsav will be inaugurated by honourable Governor of Punjab and Administrator Chandigarh Shri V.P. Singh Badnore and Dialogue shall be inaugurated by Justice Surya Kant, Honourable Chief Justice of Himachal Pardesh High Court. Honourable Agriculture Minister of Haryana Shri Om Prakash Dhankhar will also be part of Inaugural ceremony of Utsav.
Millets recipes at the fair are presented by Shri Ram Babu, from Hydrabad india’s famous millet chef. A team of 5 individuals, from different fields have come together to work on this field. The team which includes DJ Vikas, Ganeshram, Sitharam Raju and Mayank Ale, led by Ram Babu have collectively come from Hyderabad and Bangalore to spread this message amongst people of Punjab.
Recipes made by Rambabu at the Millet Food Festival will be fed to the people.
Consumers at the Millet Food Festival will be able to purchase organic products grown by farmers. With this, people will be given tips for kitchen gardening. Peoples will Enjoy savory millets dishes cooked by Rambabu and Woman of ‘Bebe di Rasoi
With this, people will be able to participate in the Food Quiz. And be aware of their knowledge on the environment. With this ‘Bajra in everyday food’ will be able to participate in public dialogue.
Kheti Virasat Mission (KVM) working as an Organic Farming Movement all across Punjab and nearby areas started Millet Promotion Program in 2007. 2008 onwards KVM organized several Millet Food Festivals. As a result, a number of farmers have started millet sowing, millet processing, millet eating and marketing of millets in the cities. Village level millet food festivals were organized in Barnala and Faridkot districts. Different dishes made out of millets were served in these festivals. Women were introduced to different millet recipes. Health and Nutrition significance of millets was propagated.
All across Punjab, several farmers have cultivated different kinds of millets this season which includes Finger Millet, Foxtail Millet, Kodo Millet, Sorgum White, Brown Top Millet and Pearl Millet. These farmers have been provided a hand holding by KVM for millet cultivation. Seeds of millets have been collected from different sources all across the country and distributed among the farmers. Time to time technical and other support is also being provided by KVM. From last three years a more concentrated efforts are undertaken with specially devised ‘MILLET PROMOTION CAMPAIGN’. Kheti Virasat Mission is working to make farmers turn them into heritage food. Kheti Virasat Mission is helping them grow Millets, they are being provided training them time to time. The market is providing them to sell the product related to millet.
Eminent Millet Expert and Master Chef Ram Babu from Hyderabad said “Amongst the 3 million organisms that exist on our finite planet, Human beings are the only ones that consume something that could be termed as “medicine”. To every other organism their Food is Medicine. Not only that, but these so called animals also know when to eat what and how to eat. And any of the wild animals are any day way better than human beings in terms of health and well-being. In our quest for good health, we have only generated more diseases and ailments for ourselves.
So was the case in our ancient times that agriculture, food and health were never separated from each other? Every person was a farmer or very closely associated with them, hence knew what to eat when and how that impacted one’s health.
These were times when people took very good care of themselves and each other. In this rat race to acquire bigger mansions, cars and assets we have forgotten the one true wealth that allows us to enjoy our meager lives on this planet, health and wellbeing. The race is such that everything needs to be in absolute haste, hence “Fast Foods”. And in this rush to make time productive, we have sacrificed everything else. And all this not only has an impact on us, but also the generations to come.
Time is running out. We owe the best to the generations to come. As parents, caretakers and well-wishers we ought to give them the best air, water, soil and food. And these are way more important big cars, massive homes and multistoried hospitals.
The Land of Punjab, which was home to the Sindu Civilization, known for its vigorous might and strength is now in the crutches of cancer and other lifestyle diseases. Kheti Virasat Mission has organized for this group to come from Hyderabad to support this endeavor to revive the once glorious Punjab. One of the beacons of hope that still lies in our hands is the tiny treasures left behind by our ancestors, the miraculous millets.”
Dr Gurvinder Kaur, Convener of Millet Utsav said “Millets are a group of small grained cereals known for their high resistance to weather changes, surviving even amongst extreme weather conditions and extremely low rainfall. These grains are the least burden to the farmers as they require minimal resources to grow and least maintenance. The grains which are a great source of nutrition are the sustainable solution to food security and national economy over a long term. Besides that these ancient grains also have the advantage of supporting the biodiversity of ecosystem in which they are cultivated.”