Showcasing local food: the Mei Ramew (Terra Madre) in Meghalaya, India






On the 10th of December 2011 The Indigenous Partnership for Agrobiodiversity and Food Sovereignty promoted the second edition of the ‘Mei Ramew’ (Terra Madre) Food Festival at Khasi Jaintia Presbyterian Assembly’s William Lewis Boys Home in Mawphlang (India). The festival was mainly supported and funded by local partners, such as the Director of Horticulture, the Planning Department of the Government of Meghalaya, the Meghalaya Water Foundation, an NGO Khatar Shnong, IFAD funded NERCORMP and MRDS projects who were eager to contribute to this initiative in favour of local food systems and agrobiodiversity.

The festival actively involved 14 local communities who were provided space to prepare and showcase their favourite food. These groups – belonging to three major tribes of North East India: Khasis, Garos and Ao Nagas – presented a little more than 110 dishes, with many coming directly from the traditional shifting cultivation lands.

Over 1700 visitors were attracted by the wonderful display of local foods and joined the Mei Ramew Festival, with young people dominating the initiative. At the Sensory Stall, young school students learnt how to use their senses to indentify the tasty but disappearing food of their own communities. The Meghalaya Water Foundation presented a model of a traditional bamboo drip irrigation system used by some Khasi communities for the cultivation of betel leaf,
demonstrating how rural communities can be sophisticated.

Krai – a nearly extinguished variety of local millet – was the special attraction of the Stall of Chef Lambert Chiang from a Sheraton Hotel in Delhi. He demonstrated how to make tasty snacks and other items with this underutilized cereal, proving his value in terms of health and food security. Proposed recipes were included in a simple Slow Food’s Recipe Book, produced in a local language to document what was presented at the Festival.

The inspiring success of the initiative encouraged the partners of the event to schedule the Third Mei Ramew Festival on 10 December 2012. Furthermore it was agreed to campaign to have 1000 local community Food Festivals in North east India by 10 December 2013 by working closely with the self help groups promoted in the last 10 years by the IFAD funded projects.

 

Read related stories

Indigenous Food Fest at Mawphlang (The Shillong Times)

Terra Madre Day in Mawphlang (Terra Madre website)

 

Read more about The Indigenous Partnership for Agrobiodiversity and Food Sovereignty.