Spirit of the Earth, an AIM for Seva initiative recently made a presentation of reviving heritage grains to officials at the US Consulate in Chennai.
The session was attended by 40 officials at the Consulate. During the interaction, we spoke about the benefits of heritage rice such as red rice and others like Karuppu Kauvuni. Indigenous rice varieties such as Mapillai Champa, Karuppu Kauvuni and Kalajeera are low on the GI (glycemic index).
While switching to indigenous varieties may not be easy to everyone, one easy way towards transition is using such grains for making idli and dosa so that the taste buds get used to the new variety.
Heritage rice also offer environmental benefits. As these are indigenous grains, they require less maintenance and no use of pesticides. In fact, the Thooyamalli rice grain has been referred to as the farmer’s best friend as after sowing and watering, the crop is ready in 120 days. The discussion was followed by sampling of snacks made from black rice and other varieties.