a. Tribal food – Tribal food is grown in remote interior areas by tribal farmers who are unaware of chemicals and modern farming. The tribals grow for themselves and their surplus if any, is sold.
b. ZBNF – Zero Budget Natural Farming- Herein the farmers use all naturally available resources within their own farm to grow food e.g. cowdung for manure and neem leaves as pesticides, thus not investing / dependent on market for growth of their foodcrop.
c. Organic – Use of organically certified, safe fertilisers & pesticides to grow food. Organic certification is provided to farms growing with this method.
a. At seeds level, GM / BT (genetically modified seeds) are grown only with chemical support in farms
b. Chemical fertilisers and pesticides used/sprayed during farming directly enter the food
c. Wilful Adulteration – eg. water, urea mixed with milk or papaya seeds added to black pepper
d. Preservatives added to increase the shelf life of the products or to make food available in all seasons/regions.
a. The best certification is to know the source of food. We call it: KYF or Know Your Farmer. Do visit the farms once in a while. It is a good idea to join in their harvest and have a meal together.
b. Buy from authentic sources, that are transparent about the source of their supplies.
c. Taste of organic food is very tasty. It takes less time to cook organic veggies while the grains take more time to cook.
d. Organic food is also loved by pests, so it needs more care whilst preserving at home.
e. Organic food may not be available in uniform sizes and shapes and over all seasons. Organic foods may be spotty, which make them ugly-food. Go for it, all that glitters is not gold.
It is a collective effort to identify and list out such suppliers in one place. Share the details of such suppliers to people around. You may list them on a platform like Know Your Suppliers
Select the supplier who is transparent about the source of his supplies. Check if they willingly share the details of the farmers and whether they facilitate farm visits. A genuine supplier should also be knowledgeable and answer your queries about food and farms satisfactorily.
a. Organic food is grown in sync with biodiversity (multi-cropping) which makes harvesting labour intensive. Monocropping can be mechanised and can make the process less expensive, but now you know the cost you would end up paying indirectly.
b. Growing safe food needs entails laborious and persistent efforts to add organic manure and to control pest attacks from time to time. For example – adding urea or chemical pesticide spraying is a simpler process than adding cow dung layers; mulching with leaves and making natural pesticides as per the seasonal demands.
c. Birds and animals actually love safely grown food, so a sizable portion does go to them. Also, true-blue organic farmers do not deter them, unlike their commercially oriented counterparts.
d. The storage of naturally grown food needs continuous monitoring to prevent pests since they are not laced with deadly chemicals.
e. The demand for certification also levies a price addition on organic food.
a. Investing on food for good health is better than spending on medicines for restoring it.
b. Choice is yours – pay the farmers, or the doctors!
a. Non-seasonal demands should not be termed as inconsistency of supply, e.g. mangoes cannot be harvested in winters, similarly, cabbage is naturally harvested only in the winter months.
b. Current chemical market rate fluctuations hijack the organic produce.
“A stitch in time saves nine”. Increased instances of lifestyle diseases like diabetes, cancer and CHD underline the need to switch to healthier options ASAP. Now is still a good time.