I am so glad I get to witness events and gatherings about real food, natural living and organic wellness. We need to talk about real food more and more, the sources of food, how it is grown and marketed and how to consume food so it nourishes our body mind and soul.
We are learning more and more about being responsible for the environment, how food should be grown naturally and in sustainable ways. In the past couple of decades we have realised that the farmers need the support of the consumers, I am so glad I have some fantastic farmer friends who have taken natural and organic farming to a new level. I firmly believe framers are the new age heroes. I really do.
We need to know our farmers too, just as we know our grocers, our favourite eateries in town and our favourite brands of breakfast cereals or our wines. There should be more farmers' markets in every town, more direct purchase from the farmers even if it is through a website and moe interaction between the farmer and the consumer. We really need to fine tune our food procurement so it takes care of our own health as an individual as well as the health of the planet. Something we keep talking on this blog often.
Earlier this month I got the opportunity of attending a great congregation of farmers, consumers and a few great minds who work in the world of food, and it was in the City of Joy Calcutta. And what a Joy it was to interact with like minded people and absorb the food wisdom shared.
The Market Place, as the event was named as, was curated by Salmoli Mukerji and hosted by Vedic Village Spa Resort, in Calcutta. The venue was the perfect place to bring together all the elements that we need to propagate the philosophy of natural living and loving. The Vedic Village Spa Resort is such a breathtaking property that I sorely missed my camera. I was there just for a day as it fell between the dates of the Banaras food festival I was curating at the ITC Maurya this month, but I am so glad that I could make it even for a day.
I am certainly going back to Vedic Village Spa Resort sooner or later for a proper holiday. I will keep craving for it till I actually go there. Here are some phone pictures of my cottage whose huge windows opened to a water body.
Seeing a family of Cormorants just outside my window was the first sight to relish as soon as I entered my room and that moment I made a promise to myself to be back. Huge sunny washrooms, an open air shower surrounded with greenery and absolutely comfortable room with a great view, what more to ask for. Their spa facility is fantastic I heard from all those who were staying there, the natural skin care products I could use and they are so good and purely natural. Imagine a fragrant powder face wash that leaves your skin radiant.
And then it was time to rush to the venue of The Market Place. Fresh produce from Darjeeling, hundreds of rice varieties from Bengal, several varieties of puffed rice and bodis (dried lentil condiments) including goyna bodi, artisan Indian chocolate, terracotta pottery, woodcraft, artisan jam and conserves, hand loom, natural beauty products and many more farm produce and artisan products were available for sale.
All these farmers and craftsmen were brought to showcase how natural living supports those who work closely with nature and the credit of curating is so well goes to Salmoli Mukerji.
It is high time we bring out the treasures from our villages and people, to celebrate and revive the living database of knowledge and skill that threatens to get lost if we don't value it rightly.
I could taste great Bengali food by Bhoomi, the restaurant at the resort and it was the best Bengali food I have ever eaten I must say. The dinner curated and cooked by Chef Abhijit Saha combined the fresh produce from the region and modern cooking and presentation skills, a real treat indeed.
And last but not the least, I got an opportunity to speak at this conclave too. The topic of my talk was, how our traditions, festivals and wedding rituals have helped conserve some of the foods and ingredients, an anthropological analysis and lessons for us to follow. Here is a picture of me speaking at the event, a phone picture generously shared by a dear friend.
All the talk sessions and live cooking sessions were being streamed live, Arvind watched me on his phone from Chandigarh and gave me his critical feedback too thanks to technology.
But I am so glad someone very dear complemented me just after the talk and said this should be the first chapter of your book. This was really overwhelming and I count it in my blessings.
Sharing the literature of the event details so you can see the line up of other speakers too.
We need more such efforts in every city. I wish Salmoli Mukerji keeps doing it frequently to support the local farmers and artisans.