Agriculture forms an integral part of Indian history, from the days of the Indus Valley civilization to even modern day era, and forms an integral part of Indian lifestyle and culture. Even today, agriculture holds a major role in the Indian economy, contributing 17-18% of the nation’s GDP and in a recent Economic Survey 2017-18 released in the parliament last year, and agriculture employs more than 50% of the total workforce. However today, traditional knowledge about India’s indigenous plants have reduced in the younger generation, mainly due to the influence of urbanization. India is rich in diverse plant species, ranging from food, materials to even medicinal properties. Not only do India’s indigenous plants have economic values, but also have major health benefits equal to those of avocados and other foreign crops.
Tasteful examples include star fruit, rich in antioxidants, potassium, and vitamin C, okra, a vegetable with a rich source of vitamins and minerals, and the seeds provide quality oil and protein. Phalsa is another fruit similar to blueberries and extremely rich in calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus and vitamin C. It is a super fruit with an effective cooling effect that is perfect for summers. Others also include lemongrass, turmeric, and many other herbs, used to add a little bit of flavor and have medicinal properties.
Today’s integration of connectivity has changed even the food we eat, as now many of the younger generations opt for international ‘superfoods’, often forgetting the value of the crops we grow on our own soil. Foods that we have been cultivating, researching and eating for generations have now lost importance, and it’s important that we bring them back.
Many people are uncomfortable with market-bought fruits and vegetables, and rightfully so, because it may not be as fresh or reliable as advertised. Therefore we encourage growing locally grown produce right at the comfort of your own home. Options such as terrace farming, kitchen gardening are always ideal, and even if you lack space a smaller balcony farm works just as well.
We at SHARP NGO encourage the use of locally available crops and spread awareness about them under our NUTRITION PROJECTS through awareness campaigns, talk shows, promoting kitchen gardening, educational games in communities &villages to promote dietary diversification of indigenous crops to lead healthy lifestyle, encouraging people from all age group like children, pregnant ladies, adolescents to consume them for a healthy mind & healthy life.