At the Organic store, PANAJI: Only organic labels here for groceries, spice and masala powders, oils, pickles, etcetera. Go Organic! It’s the future and it’s here! There’s an offer going offering a bagful of 1 kg flour, half kg tur dal, 250 ml coconut oil, 100 gms turmeric powder, 1 kg unpolished rice and also one packet of savoury crunchies…. packed in a cloth bag, for `262 all inclusive (go for it!)

IN all this never ending farcical fracas about farmers on strike for the last so many months courtesy the three farming bills they want revoked, I’m wondering why Prime Minister Narendra Modi does not revoke the bills, and urge the farming community to go in for organic farming and the government will help them! Organic farming is in the long term interests of the people’s health status in this country.
That would be a really dynamic thing to do if the PM has any wisdom – help farming go organic in a major way! Help farmers instead of reining them in and lording over them so distastefully. Not only would a push for organic agriculture heal the large scale toxicity of the country’s farming earth but also clean up our water resources – majorly.
I mean go organic as also go eco-friendly, health-friendly and that too without discriminating between rich and not so rich. All this is also tied up with being anti-plastic, boycott plastics in all the ways we can and must if any day soon we want our sea and ocean waters of the Mother Earth cleared of nano plastic residues and poisons which taking a toll of marine life health. If our food is sick, our health will be sick too, no? No point eating fish if it is stuffed with micro plastics and then fermented and preserved in formalin!
Hey, to repeat, a sick earth means a sick world, okay. Get this into human brains in all the ways you can and let the government wake up and smell its own political crap or whatever else you want to call it….do some homework and you will see how the bells are tolling for all humanity, so much so some powers-that-be are into biological warfare to make short work of an ageing population here and there in cold blooded doublethink and doublespeak manner. Surely the answers are blowing in the chilling winds of our times?
COMING back to terra firma in Goa and Panaji where I stay I must tell you for some time now I have been making that extra sacrifice to buy organically grown rations, vegetables and fruit for my home cooking – it’s twice as expensive vis-à-vis today’s post-Covid-19 lockdowns and rising inflation — when a gauti drumstick costs 10 at the Panaji morning pavement organic market, with vendors insisting you pay for a bundle of five drumsticks for50, or go your way! I can’t understand their logic for if it is 50 per five drumsticks, then why can’t it be10 for a single drumstick (for my small needs)? In a five drumstick bundle of course they may put in larger and smaller drumsticks, or one or two thin and mean drumsticks (not much luscious flesh within)…even insert an old dried stick fit for thrashing if you’re not watchful and have an argument with the vendor about being fair! Well, you get my point.
It’s ditto for a lot of other things in the gauti or organic produce market in Goa which now boasts of several farms which are a hundred percent organic – at various

WhatsApp group websites one may see all this inviting veggies, fruit, herbs, spices and much more which is so tempting to buy. Buy, buy and buy! For if it is organic it means we are putting the right food in our mouth – not something polluted with chemical fertilizers, pesticides, fungicides and a whole slew of things which promise to make your banana or mango extra extra large, extra colorful, extra seductive…but absolutely zilch or precious little in terms of natural aroma or flavor and hence nutrient values!
You want to eat this mango or papaya naked without a mass of gleaming black seeds within to indicate organic health and wealth? Not me and like me many folk are now wizened up the importance of eating and drinking organic…witness all our vegan and vegetarian movements which seek farm-raised livestock eggs and wild grass-fedlifestock meat. These movements are growing phenomenally for health reasons as much if not also to help restore Mother Earth as a garden of paradise.
Organic is in demand and it is the future and the government should go all out to promote organic farming large scale and small scale for the larger good of this country, be patriotic enough to love its own people who have fought through thick and thin for freedom from the exploitative colonial British Raj! Help the farmers of this country in the right ways instead of trapping them the mercenary traps of corporate tzars who’re gross enough to want to live in their own super utopias — at the expense of turning the rest of us lesser off mortals into a mindless robots living in a hellish, sickly dystopia! Don’t know about you my dears but these days I distinctly see how my beloved country is turning into a Stalinist or Hitlerish modern day India (being confused as glorious Bharatdesh with or without Ram Mandir).
ACTUALLY, I don’t have to visit organic farms anymore to pick up my organic orchard rice, pulses, coconuts, bananas, ginger or greens, everything else for daily kitchen preparation and consumption. Right here in Panaji there’re two places Ponjekars may visit for organic produce. Recently, I was overjoyed when I came upon The Organic Store in the heart of Panaji (just where Lawrence & Mayo is or a little further up to Bhonsale Café, Dempo Building).

Taleigao farmland: Local farmers sell their gauti produce to locals and interested passes-by. Arte and Shanta Kumar get the Happy Buddha vegetables from a Bangalore co-operative as well as locals in Goa. Goa easily has about 20 plus organic farms including Rosie and Peter Fernandes’ permaculture jungle at Assagao. There is also Anthony Pacheco’s one acre organic farm on Chorao Island… many Goans young and old have now seen the light and are keen to own organic farm!

In this little makeover shop Prashant V Kamat Tarkar was happy to show me what all he stocked by way of certified organic produce and more by ways of neat terracotta cookware and glass bottles for kitchen use. He stocks the large Phalada “pure and sure” range of semi-polished rice, pulses, all manner of ready to cook snacks like veg upma and idli mixes, cereal and millet flours of flours; there are other labels too for the masala mixes, pickles, cold pressed oils of sunflower, coconut, groundnut, sesame, etc, wild honey, peanut butter and some scrumptious crunchy snacks.
Desi ghee is all the rage now with discerning consumers now although it is hideously expensive! The story is eat more pure A2 cow ghee, none or less processed, refined, bleached, dead oils which turn our arteries to concrete along with too much love for refined salt and sugar and the chemicals in junk industrial snacks!
Hey, I’m impressed by the number of honest jaggery to be found in the organic produce market these days –jaggery powder, jaggery granules, neat jaggery cubes (infused with ginger or aniseed powder in them). Incidentally, these Phalada folk have been in the business of organic agriculture for 20 years and their three-leaf “pure and sure” logo is gaining recognition and respect. Phalada organic products are sourced directly from farmers and processed under hygienic conditions in a FSSC 22000 Certified Processing Facility. The company sources its raw produce from 2,000 certified farmers and across India. The Ambrosia label too is recognized by many Goans, it’s the pioneering label of a Britisher in love with Goa, David Gower, and has wonderful goodies range from sunflower oil to honey to the most agreeable peanut butter, not to forget the freshest stock of now fashionable to eat rice crackers or “cakes” as he prefers to call them (these organic rice grain cakes are familiar out in the south-east Asian markets). Phalada is a much larger Bangalaore-based initiative bringing organic farmers together under one umbrella to help market their produce.
One may of course call at several organic farms in Goa now ranging from Tanya Fernandes Edricia Farm in Siolim to Darryl d’Souza’s Earth Keepers Organic Farm in Candolim, there’s Geeta’s Organic Kart…in Panaji there is also OMO where one may pick up the Happy Buddha range of fresh greens, veggies, fresh herbs, fruit and a host of other things out at their outlet at Fontainhas.
After hunting high and low it is here I found my amba haldi or mango turmeric recently and that put me on cloud No.9 or may be No.12! Find quite a few things organic, wholesome and life giving and life healing here. After all the venerable Dr Belle Monappa Hegde says in his many talks that all we need is six months to be utterly new babies anew…providing our inputs are as good as our outputs.
Think about all this while I say avjo, poiteverem, selamat datang, au revoir, arrivedecci and vachun yetta here for now!

— Mme Butterfly

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