CSE brings out “First Food” for future

First food

Rama Krishna Sangem

How should we practice agriculture and food production in our climate-risked world, so that we can ensure security of livelihood, nutrition and nature? This book – The Future of Taste – and the ‘First Food’ series that it is a part of, gives us some answers: by bringing us the color, essence and joy of a biodiverse food that is good for nutrition as well as for nature,” said Sunita Narain, Director General, Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) here today.

Narain was speaking at the official release of CSE’s latest publication, First Food: The Future of Taste. The book was released by a galaxy of celebrity chefs and cuisineers, including Jatin Mallick, Chef and Co-owner, Tres Restaurant, New Delhi; Manish Mehrotra, Culinary Director, Indian Accent, The Lodhi, New Delhi; Manjit S Gill, former Corporate Chef of ITC Hotels and Founder-President of the Indian Federation of Culinary Associations; and Rajiv Malhotra, Corporate Chef, Habitat World, India Habitat Centre, New Delhi.

Says Vibha Varshney, the conceptualiser and creator of CSE’s First Food series of books: “Local communities in India knew about millets much before they became fashionable. In fact, they know much more – about how to create healthy and nutritious recipes from a host of products available in and around us, from weeds, tree-borne foods and seeds which can be stored for long periods, to plants with short life-cycles, and even those parts of cultivated plants that are generally wasted,” said a release from CSE.


Greenhouse gasses from food

In 2018, about 11 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions came from the food the world produced. While emissions from agriculture and food systems are a reality, Narain points out that there are two distinct agricultural worlds. She explains: “One, based on an intensive industrial model where food is manufactured in factory farms at a massive scale; and another which is subsistence level, practiced by farmers in the developing world with small landholdings, who grow food for their livelihood.

The agriculture and food production sector, thus, creates a divide between a world that emits for survival and one that emits for luxury. At a time when the survival of farmers is threatened across the world by climate change and other factors, we cannot go ahead with the intensive, luxury-emission based model of food production.”

The book says that in such a scenario, it is the farms and food of “our world, of countries like India” that will provide answers to the future. Among other things, the book recommends opting for crops that are both nutritive and compatible with the local environment. Says Narain: “For instance, where there is water shortage, farmers should grow water-prudent crops such as millets. Government must enable policies that will promote the cultivation of these crops.”

The Future of Taste also recommends measures such as promoting multiple cropping to minimise risk; improving soil health by using non-chemical alternatives to fertilisers and pesticides; and encouraging low-input, cost-effective agriculture.

Rama Krishna Sangem

Ramakrishna chief editor of excel India online magazine and website

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Chief Editor

Rama Krishna Sangem

Excel India national news magazine is a media startup founded and piloted by Rama Krishna Sangem, a Hyderabad based senior journalist with over three decade experience in the field of media, mostly in print journalism. His rich experience in reporting for both Telugu and English newspapers and heading a TV news channel and some online outfits will be of immense use to this venture. Excel India English news magazine seeks to fill the gap of analytical understanding to our readers who today are confronted with myriad media platforms. Our online version not only offers regular updates and commentary on happenings around us, but also gives larger stories not limited by space constraints of a print magazine. Excel India is ably run by a team of senior journalists committed to values and quality standards in the profession. We urge you all to support and guide us in this endeavour. Reach us at excelindiaweb123@gmail.com