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Daily News Blog

18
Mar

World’s Largest Community Kitchen at India’s Golden Temple To Serve Organic Food

(Beyond Pesticides, March 18, 2016) One of the world’s largest community kitchens, will soon be serving organic food. Guru Ramdas Langar Hall at Sri Harmandir Sahib (popularly known as the Golden Temple) in Amritsar, India feeds 100,000 people daily for free. Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), which administers the gurdwaras (places of worship for people of the Sikh faith) across the country, has decided to adopt organic farming, foregoing the use of use of synthetic pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers.

spgc logo“Organic farming is the new mission of SGPC to inspire farmers to cut down on the use of chemicals and pesticides and switch to sustainable agricultural practices,” an SGPC official said.

Grains, fruits and vegetables like carrot, reddish, cauliflower, spinach and fenugreek are now being grown at farms in Patiala and Gurdwara Gurusar Satlani Sahib near Amritsar, the official said, adding that they have now started receiving supply of 10 quintals (about 2,200 pounds) of organic produce every 1-2 days which is being used to prepare nourishing vegetarian meals.

While applauding this landmark decision, Dr. Rajwant Singh, founder and president of EcoSikh, a non-profit organization working to raise awareness about environmental issues and inspiring farmers to focus on producing food through organic means, said that they are now hoping that around 25,000-30,000 gurdwaras in Punjab will follow suit to serve organic food.

Organic farming also got a boost in Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s Union Budget this year. Under the Parmparagat Krishi Vikas scheme launched by the government, the aim is to increase the area under organic farming in Indian to 500,000 acres in the next three years. The government has also allocated Rs. 412 crore (USD $61.6 million) to organic farming in the budget.

“Everyone today is aware of how badly chemically-grown food affects their lives and the environment,” Dr. Singh told NDTV.

Importantly,  studies  find that consumers are exposed to elevated levels of pesticides from conventionally grown food. Organic foods have been shown to  reduce dietary pesticide exposure,  and children who eat a  conventional diet  of food produced with chemical-intensive practices carry residues of organophosphate pesticides that are reduced or eliminated when they switch to an organic diet.  One 2015 study from the Center for Environmental Research and Children’s Health (CERCH) shows that children, especially those in low-income and agricultural families, who switched to an organic diet  reduced their bodies’  level of pesticides.

Beyond Pesticides advocates in its program and through its  Eating with a Conscience  website choosing organic because of the environmental and health benefits to consumers, workers, and rural families. The Eating with a Conscience database, based on legal tolerances (or allowable residues on food commodities), describes a food production system that enables toxic pesticide use both domestically and internationally, and provides a look at the toxic chemicals allowed in the production of the food we eat and the environmental and public health effects resulting from their use. For more information on the benefits of organic agriculture, see Beyond Pesticides’  Organic Food program page.

All unattributed positions and opinions in this piece are those of Beyond Pesticides.

Sources: NDTV

 

 

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  • Archives

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