Fast food and fast lifestyle are blamed for many health ailments. Inspired by the ‘slow food movement’ initiated by Italian journalist Carlo Petrini against the fast-food culture promoted by multinational companies, Eshwaran P. Teertha, a small farmer from Kudligere village in Bhadravathi taluk has ventured to popularise traditional cuisines that are delicious and beneficial to health.
His father Parameshwarappa Teertha, although an allopathy doctor, advocated herbal cures for common ailments. Eshwaran, like his father, has been guarding the health of people, not through medicines but through organically-grown food.
After completing PU II in 1992, Eshwaran took up organic farming. He cultivated ‘Gandhasale,’ a native variety of paddy on his five acre land. His father used to advise his patients to consume soup prepared from Bilvapatre and Tulsi , known for their medicinal properties to maintain good health.
Along with green manure, Eshwaran would administer ‘soup’ prepared from Bilvapatre and Tulsi to the soil to maintain its health. Owing to these organic farming practices, there was an enhancement in yield and the paddy cultivated on his land developed resistance to blast disease and leaf hopper disease.
Eshwaran says that marketing the native variety of rice grown organically was a challenge. This inspired him to venture into value addition of agricultural produce.
As Gandhasale rice is known for its aroma, he created a strong consumer base for the rice by selling payasam and pulav prepared from it at fairs, haaths and food melas across the State.
Motivated by the response his food products received, he decided to take up value addition in large scale and launched his own brand named Arya Slow Food.
Long-term exposure to fast food results in diabetes and other health problems, says Eshwaran. It is possible to avoid many health problems by consuming food grown in local conditions in an environment-friendly manner. Food items prepared from millets like ragi, navane, jowar, sajje, barugu, udalu, koralu, haaraka and saame were part of the diet of the people of Karnataka in the past. The rich food diversity was slowly disappearing owing to the onslaught of fast-food culture, he rued.
He purchases millets grown by farmers organically and gets them powdered at Sidvi Organic Rice Bowl, a home industry established by him. He then markets them under the brand name Arya. Recipes on preparing various food items from millet powders are also provided for consumers. Along with this, mixtures for preparing traditional food like tambuli , badanekaienegai , holigesaaru and keelasa are also prepared and marketed by him.
Eshwaran is now planning to get Institute for Market Ecology (IMO) certification for his products and market them outside Karnataka.
Let people in neighbouring States also get an opportunity to relish yummy hunase chutney and tambuli , he says.
A farmer tries to popularise traditional cuisines that are healthy and tasty