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Malnad Mela on Feb 11-12 2012

posted Feb 4, 2012, 12:08 AM by Balachandran Chidambaranatraj   [ updated Mar 11, 2012, 10:58 AM by Prakriti Food ]
Malnad Mela from Vanastree - Prakriti Food

Please join us for the fifth MALNAD MELA in Bengaluru on February 11-12, 2012 (Saturday & Sunday) at Golden Bead School, 157, Richmond Road, Bengaluru. Attached is the poster invitation – do help us spread the word. 

We will have our usual range of products from 62 forest home gardeners and producers, like organic vegetable and flower seeds, wild and cultivated foods, kokam nectar, pickles, preserves & papads; tambli powders, kokam butter - beeswax balms; soapnut scrub, natural vegetable colours for holi, and indigo dye. There will be ready to eat foods and beverages from the malnad. We also bring you a new range of products:

  • Summer garden Seed Kit
  • Mango leather (Mavina saat)
  • Cocoa Maya spread
  • Malnad chocolate truffles from home grown cocoa
  • Anti-stress Summer Special gift pack ( tambli powders, kokam nectar, hair & massage oils, bath scrub, sun salve)

Our theme this year is Urban Food Gardens - Grow your Own Future. The Garden City Farmers will hold Interactive Gardening Sessionsthroughout Saturday, February 11th and through some part of Sunday. Timings and topics for the sessions will be put up at the Malnad Mela.

There will be additional stalls by: Namma Bhoomi, Vanamitra (sharing of experiences with wildlife conservation and sessions on attracting wildlife to our home gardens), A Hundred Hands (crafts), Timbaktu Organic (foods from the drylands of Andhra including millets), Janodaya (fresh organic vegetables and fruits), small steps Auroville, Daily Dump, Bhoomi Network and My Sunny Balcony. 

We invite you all to take part in our Cook-out with Kokam recipe event. Kokam is a handsome, evergreen tree that grows in the Western Ghats and has been used by the local communities as a souring agent, and for its delicious juice. Kokam butter is extracted by hand from the seeds. Kokam has proven medicinal properties. However, it is not really known or popular in Bangalore. Regular users have been sending in interesting recipes. Please bring in handwritten or typed kokam recipes with your name and address, and hand it in at the entrance information desk. Our youngest contributor, aged eight years old from Malleswaram, has already sent in some innovative recipe ideas. No competition, no prizes. But you will be featured in our Cook-out with Kokam recipe booklet and get a free copy!

Golden Bead School which has generously allowed us the use of their playground, has its Open Day over the Malnad Mela weekend, and you may drop in there to see a Montessori school and its initiatives and programmes.

While celebrations and the coming together of kindred spirits and seekers is important, lurking behind are hidden happenings of an order hard to imagine. Even while we try to encourage small scale food production, traditional seeds, and the vitality of local agrarian and forest communities,  the larger forces that be are on a totally different trajectory. There is a concerted, powerful attempt to bring in GM seeds and foods into the country, multi national companies indulge in bio-piracy while maintaining a front by being part of the conservation movement (the Western Ghats have not been spared), and the overall trend is to monetise and corporatise. There are no easy answers except awareness of these complex issues, and realizing that being a so called green consumer is not the only or real solution.

To facilitate being a part of the larger debate and macro initiatives, Greenpeace India will be part of the Malnad Mela this year. Volunteers will share their ongoing awareness campaign against the Biotechnology Regulatory Authority of India (BRAI) Bill 2011. Visitors can protest against the entry of GM seeds and foods into the country right there at the mela, with a mere ‘missed’ phone call, after informing themselves of the issue.

In keeping with the tradition of the Malnad Mela, and our belief that we have to make these gatherings and events self sufficient, once more all costs will be met through collective voluntary work, sales of products, prudence and a certain simplicity. Volunteers of the Garden City Farmers Trust have helped with arrangements in Bangalore, a kind friend has done the press and publicity work, and another Bangalorean will provide solar lighting through the largesse of his company. We marvel at this community spirit that allows for such a coming together to happen.


For years we have been unhappy with the plastic packaging we have had to use for some of our products. This year we have tried our best to source packing material that is relatively more environmentally friendly, and have come across a good source of bio-plastic packets that can decompose. If the manufacturer supplies them to us on time, we will be able to have you add these to your compost rather than the garbage bin. Bio-plastics are substantially more expensive, and we will have to do a cost analysis to see if we can eventually switch to it completely. We also have to consider the serious issue of growing food crops like maize (corn) to make plastic packaging.

There will be five of us travelling down from Sirsi, along with four of our interns. We will also have several Friends of Vanastree from Bangalore who will be part of the Malnad Mela volunteer team. In case any of you would like to do a shift (10-1 or 2-6 on either  of the days or both) please do contact us so we can let you know if we are short of people, and arrange for an orientation.

Hope to see you all at the Malnad Mela where we can connect yet again and share in our various ongoing journeys. 

Best wishes,

Sunita Rao
for the Vanastree collective