Urban Leaves India: Some Memorable Moments - KGI Day Celebrations Mumbai 2011

Wednesday 7 September 2011

Some Memorable Moments - KGI Day Celebrations Mumbai 2011

With all the excitement building up for KGI day in Mumbai and other cities, it was a little scary to see all those dark clouds building up for the famous Mumbai rains which can simply disrupt all normal life.
We had been praying for a bright sunny day on 28th August, however the rain gods had other things in mind!

Braving the flooded streets, erratic schedule of local trains and uncertainty our volunteers reached the venue in time their faces shining happily with the joy of showing off and sharing their prized harvests!As Anju Venkat later correctly observed, she was here to talk about not just a food but a special harvest which was as dear to us as were our babies!

Our group from Nana Nani Park gathered early morning at the Chowpatty, harvested the produce  and joined the rest of the gang at Maharashtra Nature Park.
The community garden at MNP awaited everyone with healthy, happy harvests... Thankfully the rains had taken a breather...while we toured the garden!

Julius leading tour at the park and explaining details...
Samir harvested corn... fully grown ....
Bharati Aunty showing off Bhindi....

Generous harvest from Preeti courtesy Mumbai Port Trust Kitchen Garden...

Visitors curiously identifying the harvest displayed on the table
brought by all our volunteers.  
The tables were adorned aesthetically and abundantly with ...
Leafy vegetables like colocasia, variety of spinach, Basella leaves.
Vegetables like ladies finger, onions, sword beans, cluster beans, pumpkins.
Herbs like tulsi, lemon grass, ajwain, basil, mint, aloe vera, beetle leaves. 
Fruits like papaya, guava, lemon, sweet lime, passion fruit, star fruit. 
Nuts and seeds like ground nut, sesame seeds. 
Flowers like Hibiscus, Champa
Thanks to Gaurang, Venkat,Bharati,Samprati and others...
It looked nothing short of a greengrocer’s full-fledged cart

 A brief talk by Uday Acharyaji on the basic purpose of celebrating the World Kitchen Day, dotted with his heart warming and disarming sense of humour brought laughter amongst all those present.

The love that gardeners all across the world share is the sight of their gardens, early morning. Oh! to be greeted by those beautiful blooming flowers, fruits and lush greens every morning. The joy spreads everywhere and to everyone....

So very aptly the session began with a beautiful song by Swati ; the words so befitting the emotions of fellow gardeners when they see their blooms first thing in the morning.

Edelwiess , Edelwiess 
Every morning you greet me
Small and white, clean and bright
you look happy to meet me.
Blossom of snow, may you bloom and grow
bloom and grow forever
Edelwiess , Edelwiess 
Bless my homeland forever....

The most awaited session by Anju Venkat from The Health Awareness Center began...
The Health Awareness center was established in 1989 by Dr Vijaya Venkat who is a pioneer in the promotion of of holistic health principles.
The  idea of having this particular session on this day was for kitchen gardeners to realize that all the love and care they pour into growing their plants and harvesting the produce can be lost if they dont utilize the same wisely. Our bodies are like plants too and food is the nourishing soil says Anju Venkat. So if we grow organic, we need to cook it organically too....

A humble attempt to reach out to all fellow gardeners with this message.....
The videos are made by our volunteers, without much professional equipment. However their content and the wise words is what we wish to share with you all....Pl do watch and hear patiently.....

The highlight of the occasion were the talk and demos by ‘Anju Venkat’, a nutritionist at the Health Awareness Centre for the last 16 years. Drawing an apt and convincing analogy between ‘Amrut mitti’ and food, she explained that health is the result of healthful living or living according to the laws of nature. She spoke about the importance of consumption of organic food and ways of cooking that would preserve its nutritive value, bring out its flavours and colours to the maximum and provide optimum nourishment. This was followed by a cookery demo conducted by her, utilizing the plant yield contributed by the volunteers.

Watch the demo.... Raw Papaya Salad

Bhindi ( Okra/lady finger ) Salad

A complete meal with.. Papaya salad, Bhindi salad, Dhokla, Raw banana cutlets, Date and tamarind chutney, herbal tea....Yummy beetlenut leaves laddos.... Never thought we can have such a dish!
The afternoon session left everyone awe-struck by the premier screening of the documentary on the ‘Urban leaves’- "Reap what you sow, eat what you grow"  filmed by Suma Josson , that would not fail to inspire anyone who watched it.

The celebration ended with a fervent group discussion eliciting from the participants not only their ideas but also assurance to carry the movement forward by spreading  awareness and educating minds about the merits of urban farming.

All in all, a highly enjoyable, gratifying, inspiring and fulfilling experience that made everyone depart in a sunny spirit despite it being one of the wettest days of the season. 

To know how our friends across India celebrated the day pl visit:

Still awaiting reports from friends in Bhopal, Nasik, Chennai and Kolkatta. Watch out for them!

Till we meet again..
Smiles and happy harvests
Urban Leaves