It was his urge to give good pesticide-free food and thereby, a healthy life to his young daughter that drove R. Mithunkumar to get into community farming. “I also have a terrace garden. I am right now doing the initial work for my farming and in a year or so, I expect to get it fully running,” he said picking up lots of seeds at the organic food Mela organised on Saturday.
Many like Mr. Mithunkumar picked organic seeds from farmers who had brought in native varieties of brinjal, bitter gourd, cluster beans, snake gourd. The Mela, organised also as part of worldwide march against Monsanto, had farmers displaying seeds of up to 800 varieties of paddy.
G. F. Visvasam from Simcodess, an NGO working with 250 farmers on 488 acres, explained how they were reviving Karunkanni cotton, native to Tamil Nadu and one of the oldest varieties in the State. His stall also had seeds of thambatta avarai whose cluster bean would each grow up to a length of half a foot, aamanaku and different kinds of saamai. The mela also had terrace garden tools and a food section where native foods including uradh dhal kali, modakathaan juice, and varagu sambar saadham were available. Ananthoo of the Safe Food Alliance explained how such melas helped spread the message of organic farming. “We are seeing a lot of terrace garden enthusiasts at the melas. There is exchange of information and ideas here,” he said.