These Festivals Promote Biodiversity And Traditional Knowledge

Several festivals are held across India that celebrate, and raise awareness about, local food
A Van Vadi workshop on local foods led by villagers
A Van Vadi workshop on local foods led by villagers

At these festivals, you will come across fascinating displays of seed diversity, foods, and interact with seed savers from different regions. They highlight the importance of local food systems to sustain people and nature in a diversity of rural and urban contexts. And include food tastings from local restaurants, local produce like regional fermented drinks, live music, and even workshops on wellness. And they are a great boost to the&nbsplocal&nbspcommunity. You will also witness several tribal rituals, folk music and dance at this event.

Araku Valley

The stunning Araku valley located in the Eastern Ghats of Visakhapatnam district hosts an annual seed festival held by the local Girijan farmers. It showcases the biodiversity of foods in the area. The last edition of the seeds festival also marked the launching of the Dhimsa paddy and millets seed bank where fifteen varieties of paddy and millets were showcased. Most of these are traditional, heirloom varieties which are difficult to find nowadays.  


Several tribal festivals are held every year In the midst of verdant hills and lush forests in Odisha. For instance, in Nayagarh district, an indigenous seed festival sees women showcase more than 200 varieties of paddy, pulses, millets, sorghum, maize and vegetable seeds. The seed festivals drive home the importance of indigenous seeds among farmers, the benefits of local varieties and the need to conserve the same to revive agricultural biodiversity. The traditional knowledge of seeds and conservation was passed on to the next generation through oral traditions like songs. However, many switched to hybrid seeds which have had an adverse impact on their food habits, health, food security, income and climate. Festivals like these help spread awareness and knowledge not just about the seeds, plants. and food, but also about their ecological context.  


On a glorious full moon, early winter weekend, treat yourself to an immersive experience of soulful music of the earth in the resplendent ambience of a lush, regenerated forest with brimming water bodies in Maharshtra. A mere 100 km from Mumbai, this regenerated, natural &lsquoforest-farm&rsquo &ndash more forest than farm &ndash with its pristine, unpolluted environment, is ideal to pick up lessons in biodiversity and sustainable living. And they hold regular events and festivals (like Van Utsav) to do that.


The Delhi Seed Festival is a regular event that has sometimes hosted over 2,500 seed varieties of cereals (rice, wheat, millets), pulses, vegetables, tubers, medicinal plants, and uncultivated/forest foods. A galaxy of outstanding seed savers, farmer-breeders and organic farmers from over 15 states all over India have participated in the event which also offers an array of traditional foods like millet laddoos and porridges like nachni and dishes made of hemp.

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