In the middle of a region which is slowly being rampaged by mono-cultural eucalyptus plantations, Bt Cotton and external input-intensive agriculture, is a small but hopeful initiative by Living Farms called “Reclaiming Our Sovereign Food Systems”.

The project works with 150 villages across 3 blocks in Rayagada District on reviving the traditional multi-cropping agricultural practices of the Kondh adivasis, securing access to forest and forest foods, and initiating discussions around the community’s local self-governance systems, how to tackle deskilling of youth happening through inappropriate education, organizing for community forest rights claims, conserving traditional seed diversity and other issues that are affecting the Kondh adivasis’ co-existence with their land. Our guides and facilitators for our workshops, meetings and farmer exchanges are the experienced elder Kondh farmers themselves who happily share their wisdom with us.

In the urban part of the project,  we work with urban communities to develop an understanding about our food system, build sensitivity towards farmers, promote a conscious living. Living Farms’ from the learnings of working with farming communities more than a decade realised that it is also very crucial to engage with urban consumers. Because, what we consume, how we live can have effect on ourselves, our fellow human beings, our future generation and our ecology!

In this effort of building sensitive communities, we decided to work with some schools in Bhubaneswar. We interact with children, teachers and parents. Hold discussion sessions on the ill effects of consuming processed and packaged foods, benefits of consuming locally available and homemade foods. We try to influence their canteens to get rid from junk foods, synthetic colours, azinomoto, polythene covers & thermocol containers. We encourage children to children to carry steel tiffin boxes and water bottles instead of plastic ones. We also organize annual food festival and there is a plan for ‘Food-Farm’ tour for children!

Here is a short clip encapsulating the essence of our work!