Mei Ramew Food Festival (December 2012)

Mei Ramew Festival – A celebration of indigenous foodways

Working closely with Slow Food International, the Indigenous Partnership has been joining hands with indigenous Slow Food communities all over the world at Terra Madre gatherings to collectively (re)discover a more sustainable approach to food for our future wellbeing. Terra Madre, locally named Mei Ram-ew Festival in Mawphlang, Meghalaya, India, has been celebrated in Mawphlang since 2010, thereby adding the voice of indigenous peoples from North East India to the global Slow Food network. The third Mei Ram-ew Festival will be held in Mawphlang from 14-15 December 2012. Approximately 24 local communities will travel to Mawphlang to share their stories and to invite the public to taste their unique cuisines and witness the diversity of locally sourced ingredients that make up these culinary traditions.

For the first time since its start in Mawphlang in 2010, Mei Ram-ew Festival will be held as a two-day event. The first day of sessions will allow communities to discuss common issues such as shifting cultivation and the revival of local food crops, as well as outcomes from this year’s Terra Madre gathering in Turin, Italy in October. Moreover, communities will share their own stories of agrobiodiversity through songs, folklore and traditional dances.

The second day will be a showcase of local agrobiodiversity from Meghalaya, Manipur, Assam, Southern India, the Philippines and Thailand. This exhibition will not only focus on food items per se but also showcase the diversity of food crops, their methods of cultivation and preparation and their importance to the food security and food sovereignty of indigenous peoples. There will be cooking demonstrations by local experts as well as by a chef from the Sheraton New Delhi Hotel. This festival will be a culmination of the activities and festivals that have been organised by the communities of North East India so far and will further highlight the importance to indigenous peoples of gaining food autonomy.