The Organic Scene in Dehradun

With growing awareness in people about ill effects of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers and the natural and wholesome goodness of traditionally grown crops, the demand for organic foods is on the rise. Organic farming basically means practicing farming systems which stress on natural bio cycles, crop rotations , use of natural resources for production and pest management. The crops grown are thus healthier and safer for consumption, as compared to those grown with the help of chemical additives.

The demand for organic food stuffs in Dehradun is also on the rise. Although, they can be counted on your finger tips, a few shops and general stores now have a separate shelf for organic food, which include organic rice, brown pasta, organic pulses, and so on.

The government has also been taking steps for the promotion of organic farming in Uttarakhand by setting up a board to undertake the objective. Uttarakhand Organic Commodity Board came in to existence on 19 May 2003. The board was registered under the societies registration act, 1860 and is acting as the nodal agency of the state to enhance organic activities in agriculture and allied sectors like Horticulture, Medicinal Aromatic Plants & Herbs and Animal Husbandry throughout the state.

The traditional “baranaja” systems and seed band storages are implemented under the programmes of the UOCB. To encourage traditional farming methods among the farmers, the government of Uttarakhand is also buying organically grown crops at a rate which is 30% higher than that of the crops grown with the help of chemical pesticides and synthetic fertilizers.

In order to facilitate the buyers of the organic produce UOCB has established several retail outlets in major cities all over India. The following agencies distribute organic produces in Dehradun and Mussoorie.

Apart from this, the UOCB aided in the opening of Haritima, the first organic certified restaurant in the country, at Tera Gaon, Shastra Dhara. Haritima is a green restaurant where traditional cuisine will be served using organic produce. In snacks t local dishes such as badeel, tofu kebab, pahari chilla and mandua kathi roll will be served. In the main course bugyali kofta curry, hariyali tofu, bhang methi, gahat ka paratha, buckwheat chilla, and tofu paratha accompanied with walnut chutney, apricot chutney, pyaaz ki chutney and til ki chutney are being served. In bakery items fruitcakes, Amaranth cookies, finger millet, and buckwheat breads are available at the restaurant. The objective of the restaurant is to make organic food more palatable and popular among the masses while contributing towards the betterment of the farmers at the same time. The board intends to come up with some more green restaurants shortly.