Why organic food is the future

When an expert in the newspaper expresses his doubts on organic food and farming, I feel like writing a little piece as well.

Our main points keep coming back. They reflect on the arguments that are often used: organic farming takes too much space and renders less yield. It's therefor more expensive. Also, sometimes this organic farming after all appears to be not completely organic, why trust it as organic.

1. Organic farming may take more time and may take more space, but it is at least basic natural farming without artificial intervention to protect the plants, as the planet was used to uptill the second World War. It respects the soil, often is close to or into the natural habitat of forests, the farmers know the soil and the way to use it in a sustainable way. Is it a good thing to rush the soil to render more and more yield (isn't that the opposite of sustainable farming?) for the good of the lazy western consumers. 

2. No doubt that also organic farming should be checked. Even if one can say that comparing is useless. You use artificial products to 'improve' or protect your crops from pests or you use natural products or techniques. So for now, the first one is not cheating and is mostly called conventional, the second one is called organic and has to be checked if is really organic or a fraud. Actually, this means we live in a system of distrust. 

3. What we've witnessed in Vietnam, India and Chile was each time different. But it was not vague at all. Farmers find their way to keep out of artificial interventions. They are controlled. The cooperative or governmental bodies in which the farmers are connected train the farmers that want to leave 'conventional' farming or when they want to learn more practices.

In the mountaineous areas of North of Vietnam, people don't know about the use of pesticides and know how to keep pests out the natural way. In Kerala we learned about natural pest control with cocktails of river fish, papaya pulp and other creative yet effective means to fertilize and keep out pests. In Chile we were shown how plants can attract butterflies and bees that feast on the larves or bugs used to eat away wine leaves. 

4. Most of all, and the argument rarely comes to mind in the West, the farmers themselves benefit healthwise from not using pesticides or intensive agriculture. They do not inhale poisonous airs, they do not wash or drink from rivers near to chemically infested soils, they do not put in peril their kids, they are not under tons of pressure to get results. They are not censed to buy fertilizers that are often expensive and conceived to have farmers to keep buying new bottles or new formulas. 

In an ideal world, farmers would be able to work with their soil within nature (biodiversity keeping plants and crops naturally strong). Especially in India, we hope farmers can connect to each other (and help reduce the appalling yet never mentioned number of suicides). And we hope that all efforts to promote sustainable natural farming finally prevail.

For the health and benefit of both sides of the supply chain.

Humans connected for the common good.

 

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Biofach 2018 - the organic world in one place

This was already our 4th time at the Biofach in Germany as a visitor. What is it exactly. Well, this German based fair in Nurnberg is by far the most important fair for everyone selling and buying organic food. This Biofach concept has already spread out into smaller organic fairs in India, Japan, China, South-East Asia, Brazil, US and the Middle-East. It means that we are interconnected in this field. There is a need to exchange and learn from each other. 

For Adya, it is a playground. We try to see what's new, which countries present themselves with farmers or companies and who we would like to get in touch with. We will write later on trends and evolutions.

What did we do or discover this time?

Myanmar was present! Allthough in political turmoil, we do feel attracted to products from this country in struggle to connect to the outside world. The organic tea farmers and their representatives from the government were guided by a German based governmental initiative. All our respect for the way Germany is working in the East in search for opportunities. In style and dedicated, as we've seen in Vietnam as well!

New connections:

Colombia tries out tea! After a quick chat we felt a connection with the people @Bitaco delivering unique Colombian tea. Let's keep you posted on this. 

From Gujarat, India and from northern Finland, we discovered additional freeze-dried treasures. More news to come.

There were more African people this time. We went trough the seeds, pulses, beans from a few African countries, with as always, humble and all the same proud representatives behind the desks. So, Ghana, Burkina Fasa, Ethiopia, Morocco, Tunisia and Egypt, we keep an eye on what's coming!

Up to us to find a way to keep in touch with this many people and products and to see where they can fit in or find a place in our distribution. Bottom line is that we're always looking for PEOPLE and their products, not BRANDS and the representatives. So as good as Biofach can be, still we need to know how the product is connected to the producing farmers. The authenticity is what more and more people nowadays want to hold in their hands. 

The authenticity is what you can find if you dig a little deeper, if you scratch the surface. A Biofach gives you the opportunity to meet with Asia, Africa, America. You can't completely fix who you will see, what you will learn. It's the serendipity (finding without having it planned) that gives us the shivers. We feel blessed.

Full of ideas we drive back home in the cold snowy Bayern countryside..

Our meetings with Wayanad Social service society (India) and Fin Ho tea cooperative (Vietnam) at Biofach India. And our collection of samples, cards and leaflets at home.

 

 

 

 

The couch in Kerala

We now try to visit our friends and partners in India two times a year. What a privilege it is. This november trip kicked off in Wayanad, Kerala. I had a the opportunity to discuss our progress and challenges in the Benelux market. The more I come to see Father John and his team at the Biowin factory in the Wayanad hills, the more I feel at home. It comes down to couch debates where we try to learn from each other's experience. They have the challenge to produce the required quality of freeze-dried fruits, Adya faces the obvious marketing challenges as a starter with a (excuse me, freeze dried?) new product. 

When we come out of the couch there is still time to visit the farmers or specific ongoing activities for the farmers, run by the cooperative professionals. It was great to be present at a seminar on organic hormones (fruit pulp composition) and organic weed controllers (small fish remains in pulp). Easily 40 farmers, mostly men but also women, showed up and listened very carefully to the young Ms. Reeba. Our friends then introduced us to 4 farmers families in the neighbourhood. Great to get so close to them and see how proud they are.

This is why we trust in Wayanad social service society. It has grown into a major social actor for the smallholders in struggle for survival and indirectly contributes in the regional social welfare. 

I share some of the pictures to visualise the beauty of the region, the Wayanad professionals and the farmers at home. Somehow I always arrive too late or too early for the fruit processing. So I promise you for a next article on Wayanad to share some pictures on our fruits.

Nature has her own timing. I can live with it.

I will start calling the challenges we face 'natural challenges'.

 

 

 

Welcome to the jackfruit

Once you've seen the jackfruit, you never forget it. It's the biggest tree fruit in the world and it has a very peculiar shape. Chubby, stitchy and not attractive like so many other fruits. Why did we fall for the fruit to be added to our freeze-dried Adya fruits.

It was Mr. Sandeep, manager at Wayanad Social Service Society in Kerala, who told us during the Biofach trade show in 2015:

It just falls from our trees, we have so much jackfruit and nothing is done with it.
— Sandeep Kumar, Wayanad SSS

 

It was a first hint. If our local experts call for action, we can at least try to do something. What we needed to discover is whether jackfruit would work in freeze dried form. Especially for jack fruit it would be great to discard the fruit rests for local recycling (easily 10 kilo per fruit). Could we work with the essential fruit parts?

The cooperative did all the necessary tests and now in 2017 sent some samples to taste. It's small strips from the jackfruit interior. It definitely gives another taste and aroma then our other Adya fruits. With its odour the jackfruit announces that it's ready to be eaten. We clearly have a fruit boarded with vitamins and minerals. It also contains proteins, which has made it pretty popular as a meat replacement in several dishes (seen in the UK on food fairs). 

What do we like from our perspective? 

We act on a fruit that is available. We don't pack boxes with the whole fruit, that would be impossible. The cooperative processes the edible parts into small pieces and packs it in snack portions. Jackfruit has its say in our search for maintaining  global biodiversity. It adds so much to our palate. It does so for the Indian people.

Jackfruit falling from the Indian trees shouldn't go to waste. Indian initiatives picked up this sad waste story before, we now have our small contribution in it. 

We invite you to join usin embracing the giant jackfruit and try it out at home. Follow us for more news on the arrival of the jackfruit.

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