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The Hindu (2006.7.14): Sowing seeds of inspiration

By Kanchi Kohli

Beej Bachao Andolan (BBA) has its home in the beautiful Hemwalghati, in the Tehri Garhwal district of Uttaranchal. Let me share with you why it continues to be a source of motivation for many of us. BBA is a small but strong-willed effort by small farmers to keep a range of traditional crops and seeds alive in their farms. As a city dweller I had been exposed to one or two varieties of Rajma beans in my growing years, BBA showed me over 200! As someone who had never heard of a crop like naurangi (a mix of nine coloured lentils), I got to eat it.

There is more to all this than what simply meets the taste-buds. It is the link it draws with our traditional ways of farming and the most nutritious foods that we’ve forgotten in today’s times. Most of us do not go beyond eating polished rice and wheat flour in our routine diet. This is what has been made available to us post the Green Revolution from the 1970s. Millets like ragi, bajra, jowar, which are far more nutritious, have little or no space in our ration shops or our eating patterns. [more]