Giving people some food for thought

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 04 Jun 2018 10:04:14


By Manish Soni,

Indians are known for their love for food. In fact, food is not only relished but also revered and respected in our culture. Yet, it is also something that millions of Indians go without food every night due to abject poverty. How ironical then that this very country is among the front-runners in wastage of food. As per a survey conducted recently, the food India wastes annually is equal to the food consumed in the United Kingdom!

While marriage parties, eateries, social and family functions offer glaring examples of this wastage day in and day out, a lot of food is thrown away in countless houses as well. As per latest report of Agriculture Ministry, the annual food waste in India is around a whopping Rs 92,000 crore.
Something needs to be done to stop this, and this very thought inspired a group of women from Nagpur to become food crusaders of sorts.

Madhvi Sakhi Mandal is an organisation of women from Agrawal community. As a first step, the Mandal has started a drive to reduce food wastage in their community. The women started the drive with a marriageable youth meet which had over 6,000 people in attendance. The organisers had made provision for meals on both the days of the function organised in Nagpur.

Talking to ‘The Hitavada’, President of the Manch Deepa Agrawal said, “It was noticed that people often fill their plates with a lot of food and then, unable to finish it, simply throw it away. While hundreds of people were wasting so much of food in one single function, there were many more people going to bed hungry in the same city. Therefore, we decided to take some steps to curtail this as much as we could.”

The Mandal has a dedicated team of 50 women who position themselves near bins meant to collect used plates at social gatherings. If they spot people keeping a plate filled with good amount of food they politely ask the person to finish all the food first.

“On the first day of the marriageable youth meet, we appealed guests not to fill their plates excessively. We told them that more food would be served if they need a refill. This obviously did not go down well with many people who thought we were invading their space. However, the initiative was talked about and discussed among the community members that day and many came to the meet with a positive attitude the next day. In fact, all the food was finished with only negligible wastage,” said a beaming Deepa Agrawal.

The Mandal members hope to cultivate a culture that makes people respect food and understand the value of every morsel.

The Mandal is taking baby steps right now with its food policing but it is an initiative close to their hearts. It is receiving support from Trupti Zunzunwala, General Secretary, Urmiladevi Agrawal, President of Agrawal Samaj, Sandip Agrawal, Vice- President, and Prakash Mehadia.