Event Environmental activist Paamayan spoke on the historical and literary perspective of organic farming

E aster and an overcast Sunday evening did not deter green warriors of the city and outside from discussing pressing issues related to farming.

And, spearheading that movement was environmental writer and activist Paamayan, the chief guest of Osai's monthly Enviro Meet. He was called to speak on “Ecological Principle and Agriculture Tradition of Tamils”.

In a brief but eloquent and nostalgic speech laced with verses from the epics extolling the virtue of past farming techniques, he spoke about the need for sustained development, going organic, and a lifestyle attuned to Nature.

Conservation concerns also featured prominently in his speech, where he spoke of past irrigation practices that did not depend on pesticides.

Paamayan explained the ill-effects of such chemicals on the environment, and the construction of the Grand Anaicut.

The interactive session threw up pertinent questions to which Paamayan had convincing answers. Asked what could be done about tea estates and their effect on the environment, especially on bird life, pat came the answer: “Try tea made of aavarampoo. “You won't know the difference.”

Genetically-modified crops, seed security, hybrid livestock and more were discussed threadbare.

Accessibility the key

Speaking about the elitist tag attached to organic food, Paamayan said the cost was justified because of the work put in.

“People presume that just because you don't invest in pesticides, organic farming is easy. But, it takes twice the amount of work. And, where are the subsidies?” he asked.

Making people understand the value of organic produce takes time, said Paamayan.

“But, one should remember that by buying organic, you are not just opting for a healthy lifestyle, you are also protesting the march of the corporates in your own way,” he said. And, he cited the example of Organopónicos, urban organic gardens in Cuba that help produce a variety of fruits and vegetables.

Earlier, Osai screened noted wildlife filmmaker Shekar Dattatri's “SOS-Save Our Sholas”.

The documentary throws the spotlight on the rich bio-diversity in the Western Ghats, and is an ode to the flora and fauna that call it home.

SUBHA J RAO

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