3-day event to sensitize northern India towards promoting organic farming to ensure Sustainable Farm Livelihoods, Environmental Regeneration & Conservation, Food Safety and Security
NewZNew (Chandigarh) : Organic farming is expected to get a big boost in the region with the 5th edition of the National Organic Farming Convention with the theme of “Mainstreaming Organic Farming” set to be hosted in Chandigarh from February 28 to March 2, 2015. An estimated 1000 organic farmers from all over the country, along with 1000 other delegates, are expected to share their knowledge in the biennial conference of Organic Farming Association of India – OFAI, which is finally reaching North India after travelling to Central, Western, Eastern and Southern India. For the 5th Convention, National Institute for Technical Teachers’ Training & Research (NITTTR), Alliance for Sustainable and Holistic Agriculture (ASHA) and Kheti Virasat Mission (KVM) are joining hands with OFAI.
Participating in the Convention will be a significant number of agricultural scientists, who in recent years have expressed a keen desire to contribute to the movement to grow food without synthetic chemicals and pesticides, and to regenerate natural resources. The venue will be the prestigious NITTTR, Sector 26, Chandigarh, an autonomous institution of government of India, funded by Ministry of Human Resource Development
The national convention is organised every two years by the Organic Farming Association of India (OFAI), India’s largest association of practising organic farmers.
This year’s convention coincides with the United National General Assembly declaring 2015 as the International Year of Soils (IYS) with the aim of increasing awareness and understanding of the importance of sustainable soil health for food security and sustaining ecosystem functions. This year a scientific conference is also being organised by the Indian Society for Agro Ecology and Centre for Sustainable Agriculture (CSA), Hyderabad as part of the Convention.
These national conventions are organised as open learning platforms for three days, where farmers and others learn from each other. During the event, organic farmers make power point presentations and share the various innovative and exciting techniques they have evolved on their own farms through their own creative efforts. They teach others, learn from each other and inspire one another. They eat organic food and visit nearby organic farmers. The Convention assumes greater significance given that it is being organised in Chandigarh, even as more reports emerge of the environmental and environmental health crises of Punjab and Haryana. Apart from this many of the sessions of the event will be telecast from NITTTR Educational Television Centre. It is hoped that farmers and researchers at around 20 different centres of the country will be connected through video conferencing and Google Hangout. Through this technology they will be able to interact live with each other. This will be unique experience by the use of social media on a massive scale.
Organic Food Festival & Kitchen Garden Workshops
In a major attempt to embed the convention in the lives of the citizens of Chandigarh tricity and around, the convention organisers are planning a series of people centric activities, including an exciting two-day Organic Food Festival and Workshops on Kitchen Gardening, at the Chandigarh College of Engineering and Technology (CCET), Sector 26. Organic farmers are working overtime to raise the several tonnes of organic produce that will be required to feed and supply to the citizens during the food festival and the hundreds attending the convention as well. The cultivation of organic food for the convention in fields in the vicinity of Chandigarh commenced more than 2 months ago under the active supervision of OFAI president Sarvdaman Patel.
Another unique feature of the convention is a separate gathering of seed-keepers, largely women. These participants are being invited to exhibit and share their heirloom seeds and indigenous varieties.
A total of 31 different committees and teams comprising mostly citizens of Chandigarh are working round the clock to ensure that every minute aspect of the convention is being looked into and taken care of.
All participation in the convention is solely through prior registration. Registration is available through the convention website at: www.organicconvention.in.Those without internet access can contact the secretariat at 7087412288, 7087432288; Email firstname.lastname@example.org
SPECIAL FEATURES OF THE CONVENTION:
Farmer-to-Farmer sharing, learning and dialogue:
Group discussions, workshops, field trips, live demonstrations and other programmes for exchange of knowledge and solidarity-building will be an important feature of this Convention. This will be enhanced by the technical expertise of NITTTR, Chandigarh through live transmission and interactions with farmers and scientists at selected 20 other ‘centres’ around the country.
Special agricultural plots have been prepared around Chandigarh by the President of OFAI, who is a pioneer organic farmer. Many other farmers and scientists will also demonstrate their skills, knowledge and innovations with ecological practices & products.
A scientific conference on ‘Mainstreaming Agro-Ecology’:
The Indian Society for Agro-Ecology along with the Centre for Sustainable Agriculture will hold a scientific Conference as an integral part of the convention. The conference is inviting research papers by scientists and researchers in the field of sustainable agriculture.
The success of organic farming depends on the preservation and protection of bio-diversity. A number of farmers and organizations working for agro-diversity conservation and revival will display India’s rich crop bio-diversity. This festival will be led by Sahaja Samrudha and Living Farms.
Exhibition for innovations:
An exhibition will be set up to make the citizens aware about the need for organic farming, various organic practices, inputs, machinery and innovations from farmers and entrepreneurs.
The Kisan Haat would be an attraction for the Tri-city consumers to interact and procure authentic organic farm produce directly from farmers. It will also open up marketing opportunities for organic producers from the region and organic farmers from other parts of the country.
Organic food festival:
The people of Chandigarh and Tri-city will experience a first-of-its-kind organic, traditional food festival on February 28th and March 1st 2015, to enable them to reconnect with the healthy food traditions of India.
Urban gardening workshops:
Workshops would be organized for common people to take up kitchen gardening based on organic principles.
A wide variety of cultural programmes are planned each evening of the Convention. Our organic farming community will experience a rich cultural heritage of folk songs, theatre and dances dedicated to Mother Earth.
As part of its technical deliberations, the Convention will host debates for better policy formulation on a variety of themes like seeds, millets, certification, marketing, organic farming policies, promotion of bio-diversity conservation etc.
Books, training manuals, package of practices, CDs, DVDs in various languages will be displayed and sold.