Green Cities

Earth Day Network–India Launches “Go Organic” Campaign

Organic foods and other organic products are not on the usual list of purchases for the people of Kolkata. To build awareness about the benefits of going organic, and to showcase what organic products are available, Earth Day Network-India has launched the “Go Organic” campaign. The campaign’s kickoff event was held in conjunction with the Bengal Chamber of Commerce and the-newly formed food club The Calcutta Gastronomes at The Palladian Lounge in Kolkata on January 15. The over 100 participants included leaders of business and industry, hoteliers, restaurateurs, marketing professionals, diplomats, celebrity chefs and other celebrities – all in positions to further the organic movement in India. The event marked the launch of a series of programs for the Go Organic campaign. The highlight of the event was a dialogue via satellite with star chef Nora Pouillon of Restaurant Nora, America’s first certified organic restaurant. Nora champions organic, environmentally-conscious cuisine. During the interactive presentation, Nora explained what goes into opening an organic restaurant and how to run one that is successful. The director of the American Center Kolkata, Jeffrey Reneau, said, “It was my pleasure to introduce Nora, an ‘organic’ American icon. I’m happy to help for these types of excellent causes.  As an added benefit, I was able to get some nice vegetables and contact information for organic, home-delivered produce!” The guests were amazed at the display of organic products, many of which were used by celebrity chef Shaun Kenworthy for the special dinner that evening. “So many organic growers and distributors were actively involved that I was flabbergasted by the quality of ingredients and the amount of interest from the consumers. I’m all for a back-to-basics approach to farmers markets, sustainable growing and the need for organic foods without the use of fertilizers that create long-term damage to our health and the soil,” said Shaun. The president of the Hotel and Restaurant Association of Eastern India said, “We intend to promote organic food in the city and also encourage restaurants to incorporate such ingredients in their dishes.” Natureway Agro and Aakansha Farms exhibited their green produce. Ambootia served organic teas, and Living Free had a cheese sampling from La Ferme in Auroville.  Casa Puro, Sasha, and Down to Earth also showcased various organic food products such as spices, oils, pulses, cereals and other products. Over the next couple of months, Earth Day Network-India, with support from partners such as The Palladian Lounge will develop programs that reach out to particular segments of society – such as students, the media, and consumers – about the importance of organic agriculture and products. The Chairman of the National Horticultural Board of India has already promised support for the campaign.