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Say yes to organic

Here we give a sneak preview of some of the unique products that would be displayed at the India Organic Fair 2018. What’s common between Belgium and Kodaikanal? Waffles. Located in a small village at the foothills of Kodaikanal, Aharam Weavers, a producer owned weaving unit will be bringing waffle towels to the India Organic Fair-2018.

“These square shaped towels are very soft and super absorbent. These products have lot of takers in the overseas markets,” says M Mohanraj, chief executive officer, Aharam Weavers, Tamil Nadu.

In addition, Aharam will also be displaying baby pillows and bed spreads in organic cotton and other fabrics and stoles made out of organic and soft cotton.

If its waffle towels from Aharam in Kodaikanal, then Jaipur based Gau Kriti would be displaying best out of waste products. The organisation would be showcasing its entire range of paper made products that are made from cow dung and vegetable seeds at the India Organic Fair 2018. What’s more attractive is that they are recyclable too.

The collection includes gift boxes, wedding cards, letter heads and envelopes, bangle boxes, carry and bottle bags, business card holders, table top calendars, pen stands, comment books to waste paper baskets.

Are you looking to redo your kitchen cabinets? Along with Ponni rice, sambhar powder and rasam powder, your kitchen counters could also stock broken Kanod rice from Gujarat, hand pounded rock salt, highly fragrant asaefotedia power, organic chilli and coriander powder– all from west India.

Ahmedabad based organic lifestyle store Arya Sanskriti which would be setting up a stall at India India Organic Fair 2018 will showcase all the above and more. Other interesting items on display are bell metal cutlery like thalis, spoons and cups and an energy drink powder made from handpounded Ambastha flower, that is found in the wild in Gujarat. “Made from an alloy of copper and other metals, eating food from plates made of bell metal is proven to be good from the health standpoint,” says Mithun K Shah, founder of Arya Sanskriti.

From north India, its Jai Ho to Dung Ho! One of the participants at India Organic Fair 2018, Beejom, a sustainable agricultural farm located in Noida, Uttar Pradesh uses natural farming techniques to grow food through systems of regenerative agriculture.

Beejom also runs a dung farm aptly named Dung Ho! The dung produced in the farm is used in many ways: it is used to make bio-gas, vermicompost, dungpots, agarbattis, dhoops and even dung logs.

Beejom also has solar panels to make electricity. Indigenous seeds are also carefully preserved at the farm so that food can be grown year after year, without procuring seeds from the market.


What’s common between the Japanese island of Shikoku and Hoshangabad in India? Around 34 years back, Raju Titus from Hoshangabad, was swept off his feet when he read Masanobu Fukuoka’s ‘One Straw Revolution’ that had made Fakuoka, a leader in the field of sustainable agriculture.(see box)

Deeply inspired by One-Straw Revolution, Titus started the ‘no-tilling’ and ‘no pesticide’ method of farming in 1985 after incurring a severe loss on account of mechanised farming. “We had a 12 acre land where we used various chemical fertilisers, tractors and tilling methods. But to my father’s dismay, the farm started yielding very low returns after a point of time. My father had almost given up farming. But what happened was destiny,” says Ranu Tittus, daughter of Raju.

Titus is an advocate for natural weeding where the weeds are not removed from the top soil. Tilling the field with tractors entails weed removal and other adverse effects like loss of organic matter, death of soil microbes and erosion of the top soil. This, coupled with rain that washes away the nutrients in the soil. In course of time, the yields become lower and farmers fall victims to debt traps.

“Instead, natural farming increases the fertility of the soil. A no-tillage technique is a solution to the global agricultural problem,” declares Titus.

He explains that the process of mechanisation, the organic fertiliser, the carbon, formed inside the soil is lost in the air after tillage as the soil’s organic matter is broken down more rapidly. This increases the carbon dioxide level in the atmosphere, thus contributing to global warming.

Presently, Titus conducts various awareness programmes in his farm that is attended by young farmers across the country. He also offers farming consultation to metro denizens who wish to return back to their roots. In natural farming techniques, water penetrates deep into the soil. Thus, the farm does not have to depend on an external water source.

“We would use the platform of The India Organic Fair 2018 to spread more awareness on natural farming. Instead of making it a profit driven motive, we want to make best use of it by propagating a technique that would benefit the world at large,” explains Ranu, who works as an English teacher.

The One-Straw Revolution Hero

Masanobu Fukuoka (1913-2008) was a farmer and philosopher who was born and raised in Shikoku in Japan. He studied plant pathology and spent several years working as a customs inspector in Yokohama.  While working there, at the age of 25, he had an inspiration that changed his life.  He decided to quit his job and return to his home village.

Over the next 65 years, he worked to develop a system of natural farming. He did not plow his fields, used no agricultural chemicals or prepared fertilisers, did not flood his rice fields as farmers have done in Asia for centuries, and yet his yields equaled or surpassed the most productive farms in Japan.

Herb pillows and many more

If you are visiting India Organic Fair 2018, please do drop by the Beejom stall.

An animal sanctuary and sustainable agricultural farm located in Noida, Uttar Pradesh, Beejom uses natural farming techniques to grow food through systems of regenerative agriculture.

Beejom also runs a dung farm aptly named Dung Ho! The dung produced in the farm is used in many ways: it is used to make bio-gas, vermicompost, dungpots, agarbattis, dhoops and even dung logs.

Beejom also has solar panels to make electricity. Indigenous seeds are also carefully preserved at the farm so that food can be grown year after year, without procuring seeds from the market.

As a socially conscious organisation, Beejom has also started a school for farmer’s children and a free weekly medical clinic for the farming community around the region. These projects are called Beejom Shiksha and Beejom Aarogya.

Three days a week, wives of farmer congregate at Beejom for skill development and training. The organisation teaches them basic skills in tailoring that includes stitching quilts and bed liners, newspaper bags and herb pillows under Beejom Samudaay.

From September 7 to 11, Beejom would display its organic, farm produce fare at its stall at the India Organic Fair 2018 at the Mother Teresa Women’s Complex, Valluvar Kottam High Road, Chennai. Don’t miss it.

Preaching the all-organic living

Have you seen the Ambashta flower? It is sour and orange in colour. Mithun Shah, founder of Arya Sanskriti in Ahmedabad powders this flower, mixes it with a range of Indian spices and makes it free off sulphur. The end product according to Shah, is a very good appetiser. This along with several other interesting items like a long lasting pudina chutney powder and Himalayan rock salt have all been packed to be sent to the India Organic fair 2018.

“Human well-being cannot be achieved by specific activities, it can only be attained by approaching the everyday life and activities with profoundness,” says Shah.

His lifestyle can be described as eco-friendly. From eating in brass utensils to wearing Khadi clothes and using vegetable dyed curtains at home, Shah’s life bears a minimum carbon print.

This evolution did not happen overnight for Shah who is a commerce graduate. “My family is in the grocery business. My parents have now taken to monkhood and live in an ashram. As a Jain, I draw inspiration from my Guru and the five principles of Jain philosophy – truth, non-violence, non stealing, non- possession and non-attachment,” says Shah. This background, coupled with the genetic lineage of the ‘Mahajan’ tradition has put him into an orbit of creating ‘well-being’ through his enterprise.
Shah sources products from organic farmers and skilled artisans from across Gujarat thus ensuring a livelihood for them. These products are handmade, organic, natural, traditional, and above all, environment friendly.

Elaborating on the growing demand for organic products, Shah says people have realised the benefits of organic living. The credit goes to government initiatives and other organisations and events such as the India Organic Fair that is reaching out to a large audience base.”

The entrepreneur calls Arya Sanskriti as ‘a community’ rather than a store. “Success is not measured by degree; it is all about learning from practical experience. Skill and passion are all that one needs to take forward. Else I wouldn’t have started the business of eco-friendly products way back in 1999 as a 23-year old. I believed in my convictions and I continue to believe it,” says Shah as he signs off.

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