Last updated: 19 May, 2020

Local food sufficiency - Auroville and Covid 19

Queing at a distance for lunch tiffin

By Visitors Centre Cafeteria , 19 May 2020 / 09:20 am

On the current Pulse question regarding eating more local food and food sovereignty, one of the points highlighted is “eateries putting more local food on the menu...”
I would like to share what we did at Visitors Centre Cafeteria during the month of April under lockdown.

Cafeteria went on producing food for Lunch Scheme and various Take Aways. We drew as much as possible on our own farm garden resources (Thank you Krishna, Shankar and Vikram for helping set that up and making it flourish!). Apart from tomatoes, onions and mushrooms that kept on coming from the market, we sourced most other vegetables and all fruits from Foodlink and concentrated on using every edible part of the plants in order not to waste anything and to keep our costs as low as possible. Preparing simple Mini Rice Meals and Healthy Plates whose menu changes everyday is really well suited to this approach.

Plantain (cooking banana) flower, stem and fruit all went into different pooryals (vegetable side dishes) for the mini rice meals. Papaya both green and ripe has been a staple for salads and desserts, we used the drumsticks in the sambars as well as their leaves that also went in soups, and used the other seasonal veggies, radish, brinjals, beans, chilli, tomatoes in a variety of ways both western and local style. We swapped market palak for Basella spinach, Kire spinach for Sissoo to make soups and gratins, and regular potatoes for sweet ones. Some dishes disappeared... but others were tried and this period gave us the opportunity to make changes and be more reliant on food grown in Auroville.

Figures for the month show only Rs 22,275/- going to outside providers for fruits and vegetables and a value of Rs 88,829/- being kept and circulated in Auroville for procuring farm produce, including eggs and milk.
We were very lucky that our organic goods container was filled just before lock down enabling us to draw on our reserves for all our wheat, sugar, pulses, rice, oil and other needs so we could continue to provide mostly organic food during the period.

(Text from Auronet, the internal Auroville website)