PUNE: Pune was home to more than 300 varieties of indigenous seeds over the weekend and more than 2,000 people witnessed this spectacle at the Prakruti Mela held at Wadia College, an event organised to celebrate the first Naturopathy Day on Sunday.
The mela was organised by the National Institute of Naturopathy (NIN) with Annadata: Citizens’ Movement for Safe Food.
Director of NIN Sathya Lakshmi said that the purpose of the mela was to sensitise people about lifestyle. “We are also calling out to the citizens to link themselves with nature, simply by standing in the sun from 11 am to 1 pm. This is because 80 per cent of our population is suffering from Vitamin D deficiency,” she said.
There were 50 stalls selling toxin-free vegetables, fruits, grains, pulses, medicinal herbs, millets, jungle fruits and other sustainable lifestyle products. A special feature of the Prakruti Mela was a free millet lunch. Apart from seeds and vegetables, the exhibition also had decorative items made with seeds, like pots with patterns made from millets. Two stalls also have implements for home kitchen agriculture. There were different activities like Zumba too.
Among the stalls were 10 which were dedicated to seed savers from around Maharashtra. Among these seed savers were Kalsubai Millets, BAIF Mitra, and Lokpanchayat. The seed savers had brought with them colourful and unique varieties of seeds. There were different types of rice, jowar, corn, to name a few seeds. There were also stalls of oil from wooden ghana, jaggery and forest vegetables.
During Sunday’s events, Seed Conservationist Sanjay Patil spoke about the importance of indigenous seeds. He said that these seeds are more resistant to the changing climate. He also said that we can get required micronutrients from a variety in our diet.
Patil has been working on seed conservation for 12 years.
Nilima Jorwar of Kalsubai Millets, a network of farmers from the village of Bari Jahagirdarwadi at the foot of Kalsubai mountain, said their stall had 65 indigenous seed varieties, which includes 19 millets. “I observed that people here don’t know any millets beyond jowar, bajra, nachni and varai. If they don’t even know the names, how will they know the benefits? So today, we were telling people about alternatives to these,” she said.
Environmentalist Dileep Kulkarni also conducted a session at Annadata’s Pashan Centre as part of the event. He spoke about reducing energy consumption, among other sustainable lifestyle topics, said Samadhi Shelar of Annadata.
Professor Rameshwaram of Warangal was felicitated at the event for starting a library dedicated to naturopathy and Jugal Rathi was felicitated for running 36 km after being cured of several diseases through naturopathy treatments. The day was inaugurated by Mayor Mukta Tilak.