Sign Up For A Millet Workshop In A Forest Farm In Maharashtra

The sessions will start with forest food walks led by local Adivasi women elders, followed by indoor interactive discussions and recipe discussions
Representative Image
Representative Image

The United Nations has designated 2023 as the "International Year of Millet." Millets are a small-grained cereal crop grown for both food and fodder. Millets come in thousands of different varieties. Experts believe they are one of the oldest cereals known to mankind and the first cereal to be produced for domestic use. Millet was also consumed throughout the Indus Valley culture, according to research.

Across India, millet is consumed as a traditional food and made into a wide range of dishes. For instance, nachni porridge in Maharashtra is made with ragi millet. You can also find rotis, laddoos, and even local beer made with millet in India. However, many people, especially in urban India, are not yet clued into cooking with millet. Vanvadi, a forest farm in Maharashtra, is trying to change all that by hosting workshops on millets. 

Tucked at the edge of a remote village, Vanvadi lies in the foothills of the Sahyadri range in the Western Ghats mountains. A three-hour drive from Mumbai, it is a sprawling 65-acre land with over 90 per cent tree cover, a small organic farm, and waterbodies. But what makes it special is the story behind it&ndasha lesson in forest regeneration, rainwater harvesting, and offering a home to over 120 traditionally useful plant species, including 52 varieties of forest food. You can read more about Vanvadi here.

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&nbspAbout The Workshop

The bilingual workshop, conducted by experts Jacob Nellithanam and assisted by Nilima Jorwar, will include both on-field and indoor discussion sessions on the subject. Translation will be provided as needed by participants.

The sessions will start with forest food walks led by local Adivasi women elders, followed by indoor interactive discussions. This will be followed by workshops on the nutritional aspects of millet and how to cook with them. 

The sessions will be facilitated by experts such as Nilima Jorwar of Kalsubai Millets and Wild Foods Association, which supports village women and local farmers in the farming and marketing of indigenous, locally suited millets and millet products. She has authored and published a book in Marathi on wild/forest foods, particularly covering the Konkan and Western Ghat regions of Maharashtra. Nilima has also collected many millet recipes.

Jacob Nellithanam is a veteran seed activist dedicated to protecting and promoting the rich heritage of indigenous crop varieties in India. He is the convener of Bharat Beej Swaraj Manch (BBSM), or India Seed Sovereignty Alliance. Jacob has trained many farmers in adopting the organic "System of Millet Intensification" (SMI), using locally suited native seed varieties.

Getting There

The nearest airports are Mumbai (approx. 70km) and Pune (approx. 115 km). The nearest major railway station is Karjat (27km/45min) for those taking the Mumbai local, Neral (approx. 12km/15mins) is the nearest railhead.

The Information

What Weekend Workshop on Millets at Vanvadi Forest

When July 8-9, 2023

To register, click here

Cover photo credit Depositphotos

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