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Indigenous Food Fest at Mawphlang

By Our Reporter

 

Indigenous food on display at a stall at Mawphlang during the Food Festival on Saturday.

SHILLONG: The William Lewis Boy’s Home, which has developed a close link with Slow Food International in Bra, Italy, had on November 17, 2010, organized its first Food Festival on the occasion of the visit the Founder of the Slow Food movement to Meghalaya — Carlo Petrini.

There was active support from the Rome-based Indigenous Partnership for Agrobiodiversity and Food Sovereignty

Following the success attained last year, the Indigenous Partnership for Agrobiodiversity and Food Sovereignty (The Indigenous Partnership) was requested to organize a repeat of this Festival.

Following this request, it was decided to hold a Food Festival on December 10 when hundreds of local communities around the world also annually celebrate the International Terra Madre (Mother Earth) Day. In keeping with this celebration, this second Mawphlang Festival has been called the Mei-Ramew Festival, a Khasi equivalent of Mother Earth Festival.

The Director of Horticulture, the Planning Department, the Meghalaya Water Foundation, NERCORMP and MRDS spontaneously came forward to support the Mei-Ramew Festival. The Festival was organized by the William Lewis Boy’s Home with the support of the Khat-ar Shnong Socio Organisation (KSO), The Indigenous Partnership and two people from Slow Food International, Italy.

The Mei-Ramew Festival provided space for local 14 communities to prepare their favourite food and share it with others. These communities were from the Meghalaya villages of Nongtraw and Mawphu of the Khatar Shnong area, Phlangkynshi Septngi of Dawki area, Rangthap and Mairanglang of West Khasi Hills, Umlyn Kraw of Bhoi area, Mynso, of Jaintia Hills, Mawphlang, Mawngaprim from Khasi Hills areas and Aruakgre and Kherapara Nokat and Napat Songma from Garo Hills.

There was also a presentation of a large variety of Ao Naga cuisines. Together, these groups presented a little more than 1100 dishes.

Most of the food came from Jhum cultivation and several vegetables like the roots of Jynkhmoh Achar of the Umlyng Kraw of Bhoi area are regularly foraged from the forest.

The Festival was opened by GP Wahlang IAS (Retd) and the Governor and the Chief Minister who was very eager to be present sent their messages.

Young people turned up in large numbers and they were thrilled with the Zero Waste Kitchen of the Youth 4 Change group and the Sensory Stall where they could identify local plants on display and test their sense of taste, smell, touch and sight and sound.

One of the star attractions was the presence of Chef Lambert Chiang from Sheraton Hotel in Delhi. He conducted a series of demonstrations on how to make a millet (Krai) pancake and other items. His stall received a lot of attention from many young people.

At the end of the Festival a decision was taken to hold the third Mawphlang Food Festival on December 10 next year. It was also agreed that there will be a campaign for having 1000 food festivals next year across the North East region.

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