Review: Farmers’ Market
Mumbai’s first Farmers’ Market, where farmers sell locally grown and organic produce directly to customers, kicked off on Sunday, March 21 at the small garden across Shoppers Stop in Bandra. It was scheduled to stay open until 5pm, but most of the stalls were bare and all produce was consigned to shoppers’ bags by lunchtime.
Shoppers descended on the tiny park and its dozen stalls as soon as the market began at 10am. They included students, activists and expats; some brought their kids along, others their parents. They browsed, mingled, snacked, and even tried to bargain under colourful striped umbrellas and banners that read, “Only when the last tree has died and the last river poisoned will we realise that we cannot eat money”.
Activist Kavita Mukhi, who has been involved with the organic farming movement for 25 years (she started an organic and natural food company called Conscious Foods in 1990), was instrumental in starting the Farmers’ Market. Her initiative has given certified organic farmers in the Nashik district an opportunity to showcase their produce in Mumbai for the first time.
Mukhi, who also farms herself, said, “It’s actually for the health of the earth and our future that we need to support organic, pesticide-free farming”. The farmers are certified by the Indian arm of Ecocert, the French agricultural inspection and certification body.
The selection and variety of produce includes certified organic brinjal, spinach, onions, potatoes, tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers, radishes, raisins, dill, and figs. You can also buy organic, chemical-free dish washing detergent, and dung-based mosquito repellent. The prices are slightly higher than those of most fruit and vegetable vendors but given that it’s more expensive to grow produce without the pesticides (it’s more labour intensive) and that the farmers bear their own travel expenses, it’s worth it. Last Sunday, raisins were Rs 200 per kilo, leafy veggies were about Rs 25 a bunch, loose veggies about Rs 60 per kilo and potatoes about Rs 20 a kilo.
We picked up tomatoes, brinjals, spinach, chickoos (sapota), and grapes (which, along with strawberries, capsicum, and apples, are the most susceptible to carrying high amounts of pesticide residue). We were most pleased, however, with the organic phenyl made from (gloss over this if you have a weak stomach) cow urine, neem and camphor for Rs 100. Not a bad price to pay for not having your floors cleaned with the chemical version, the fumes of which are toxic if inhaled on a regular basis.
For the kids, there was organic candy floss, sugarless lemonade and delicious vegan treats at the two food stalls. By 2pm, however, most of the food was gone. The farmers assured us that they will bring extra quantities next week.
The next Farmers’ Market will be held on Sunday, Mar 28.Bandra, Farmers Market, Food, Kavita Mukhi, Market
Bandra Hindu Association
PhoneCall Megha Rawal on 98211 42700
HoursEvery Sunday, 10am to 5pm