Bhubaneswar: The state capital recently hosted Ecorgan-2017, Organic Fair of Odisha. The two-day fair was an attempt to bring agro-ecological stakeholders and retailers under a single roof with an aim to build a society practising sustainable agriculture free from genetically modified crops, chemicals, fertilizers and synthetic hormones.
It initiated the process of building a consensus towards reviving the old agro-farming system, using indigenous seeds, with tribals as torch-bearer of this revolution.
Altogether, 18 stalls were put up showcasing a wide range of cereals, pulses, millets, spices, forest produce, health care products, bio-pesticides and bio-fertilizers. Also on display was vermi-compost.
Stakeholders from West Bengal, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh also participated in the fair with their products, especially cotton garments. The event was attended by over 3000 people.
The event organized by Living Farms under ‘India for Eco Food Campaign’ in collaboration with Kasam, a famers’ society, saw experts speaking on organic farming and its benefit. The harmful impact of pesticides on soil and humans was also discussed. Government functionaries spelled out different schemes promoting organic farming.
Dr. Pramod Kumar Mohapatra (Deputy Director, APICOL), Bijaya Ketan Sahoo (Deputy Director of Agriculture, Kandhamal) Dr. Subrat Mishra (Assistant Director, State Institute of Rural Development), Ansuman Dash (Program Officer,WHH), Dr. Jagatabandhu Mohapatra (Program Coordinator, India for Eco Food Campaign) and Abhishek Dwivedy (Campaign Coordinator, India for Eco Food Campaign) attended the inaugural session.
The Day 1 also saw interaction between coastal and tribal farmers to understand the type of farming they practised and its fallout.
The Friends Club Ground (Unit-9) buzzed with activity as students of around eight schools participated in drawing, singing and dance competitions with enthusiasm.
On the second day, Dr. Jagatabandhu Mohapatra and Abhishek Dwivedy explained the concept of safe food, organic farming, harmful impact of pesticides on human and adulteration in food.
Dr Mohapatra invited the gathering to participate in the city-wide campaign for safe food. He said the campaign to be facilitated by Living Farms will be led by school children, college students, women, street vendors, chefs, mediapersons and health providers. The campaign-cum-awareness is based on a premise that all people should have access to food that is clean, devoid of chemicals, locally grown and nutritious, he added.
This was followed by an interesting interaction between tribal farmers and college students. It was a comparative analysis of food they ate and the life they led. The farmers spoke on the benefits of eating millets and other organically-grown food. These health food items helped them climb mountain and walk miles without getting tired, they contested as the youngsters wondered how junk food with no nutritional value had become a part of their life.
The last session saw experts on rooftop gardening, urban farming, aquaponics and permaculture explain ways to set up mini gardens on terrace and other available space. A health check-up camp also organized on the occasion.