With a diverse cultural history, India too has has a culinary wealth and gastronomic heritage to cherish. But with the growing dependence on junk food, there is a need to revive the traditional food culture.
The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) in support of the Global Indian Food Day around the world, released the Indian Food Manifesto: Working towards a sustainable food culture.
Pawan Kumar Agarwal, FSSAI CEO, Madhavi Das, Chief Management Service Officer (FSSAI), Sourish Bhattacharya and Sanjoo Malhotra, curators of Tasting Indian Symposium, and Arbind Singh, national coordinator of the National Association of Street Vendors in India, released a concept essentially about reviving Indian food culture. Inspired by Nordic countries, efforts are being made by chefs, bloggers and stakeholders to create a movement. Held on December 15, it was a three-day event. It began with an evening devoted to hunger and food waste. Under the initiative “save food, share food, share joy” by FSSAI, the Indian Food Sharing Alliance (IFSA) launched two campaigns : “street food vendor has a heart” and “I too have a heart” in order to build a food collection network for street vendors, citizens, food businesses, volunteers and corporate to donate food and prevent food loss and waste. The campaign, “street food vendor has a heart,” encourages vendors to donate every 10th meal to the needy.
The focal point of the second day was culinary tourism. To promote the food wealth available in India, a lunch was prepared by farm products grown in and around Delhi. On the third day, the emphasis was on the struggles and challenges in the organic and traditional sectors of agriculture. The farmers spoke about the ground level realities and water shortage in various areas. Eight journalists from all over India were invited and exposed to the various cuisine trails and the operations at FSSAI. The CEO of FSSAI believes it is an interesting concept. “Food touches lives of everyone. We believe this initiative will not only make the world sample the best of Indian cuisine but also discover a vast variety of Indian agricultural produce and spices.” The purpose of the Tasting India Symposium is to create a smart network, support traditional produce, raise awareness about Indian food traditions, accelerate gastronomic tourism, promote experience trails, popularise principles of ayurveda and create robust certification framework. The plan is to put systems in place to set in motion the celebration of a global Indian food day and an internationally accepted certification process to guarantee the authenticity of Indian food served in restaurants around the world. The national street food festival is being organised in January for popularising the flavors and traditional food delicacies of India.
The festival is an effort towards sensitising vendors from across the country to safe food practices, global hygiene and sanitation standards.