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To celebrate the International Year of Pulses Navdanya started the campaign ‘Pulse of Life‘ on January 6th, 2016, with celebrations which were held both at the farm in Doon Valley and at the Organic Café in Dilli Haat, New Delhi.

With these actions, Navdanya also joined #PulseFeast #LovePulses international celebration day initiative.

INDEXEvent Summary by D. Semwal | Event Summary by V. Limeberry | Related Campaign | Social Media Stream

Navdanya Organizes a Pulse Feast with regional Women farmers

by Dineshchandra Semwal

Dehradun, Jan. 06, 2016 | In celebration of the UN Year of pulses 2016, Navdanya has organized a one day regional gathering of farmers at the Biodiversity Conservation Farm at Ramgarh, Dehradun.

The Pulse Feast (Dal Utsav) began with over 57 women farmers from Singhniwala, Keshuwala, GaneshPur, RatanPur, Karbari and Donkwala village of Dehradun district.

On this occasion farmers came together with rare native varieties of a handful pulse seed. After the introductory talks they celebrate a combine cooking. They grained wet pulses, and enjoyed the tea and a dal snack (pakoda) made by themselves in an open kitchen near Vasundhara auditorium of Navdanya Farm. Navdanya’s workers were also present at the same time. In the starting of the programme farmers sang a song and slogans of Dal with Dinesh Chandra, a worker with Navdanya.

“We are facing higher prices of deals in the market as well as in our kitchen, we are very happy to know that 2016 is dedicated to the pulse. We hope it will benefit to all farmers and consumers too”. Aruna Negi, a woman farmer from the Ganesh Pur village has said.

“We are facing difficulties in the production of dal in this region due to climate change, but we hope that Navdanya will help us to grow more dal during year 2016” said Roshani Devi, a small scale rajma grower farmer, from Singhniwala villge.

“India is the world’s largest producer (18. 5 million tons), importer (over 3 million tons) and consumer (22. 0 million tons) of a variety of pulses; yet, the per capita availability of this nutritious vegetable protein is relatively low at about 15 kilograms per annum. For a country that faces persistent protein inflation and has preference for vegetarian diet, pulses are the most economical source of vegetable protein. Higher consumption of pulses will help address the scourge of pervasive malnutrition caused by protein deficiency among large sections of the population”, said Dr. R. S. Rawat, an organic farming expert of Navdanya. “This is an extraordinary day for the global pulse grower farmers’ He said. A variety of pulses including beans, several variety of rajma, lentils, peas, nourangi and chickpeas have been the cornerstone of global nutrition for centuries. This dedicated year will raise the level of awareness of pulses in India and the important role pulses can play in advancing health and nutrition, food security and environmental sustainability. ” Dr. Rawat also said.

“This is the greatest opportunity in a century to give pulses the attention they deserve. Pulses can help to increase food security and nutrition security for those with shortages and to tackle the increase of diseases linked to lifestyles such as obesity and diabetes. Plus, they improve cropping systems and are good for farmers,” said Promod Kimothi, a regional coordinator of the organization.

Celebration of Pulses, 6 January 2016

The Pulse of Life at Navdanya Biodiversity Farm

report by Veronica Limeberry

The bright morning sun lights the rocky road through the mango orchard as a row of bright blue tuk-tuks rumble up the lane. More than fifty women farmers dash out of them as they come to a stop before a large, open hall at a local organic farm. The women, dressed in dazzling saris and flowing suits, form a singular line to quickly share their name and information with the registrar. In only a few minutes, the open hall is filled with bright, happy, women singing and talking—excited to be sharing in this day. Today is the day of a Dal Celebration to kick off the 2016 Year of Pulses campaign. The women gathered here have come from across the region to affirm their commitment to pulse biodiversity—with promises to save their local, indigenous seeds, and prevent soya monocultures from claiming their lands.

The diversity of Dal throughout India can be characterized as the pulse of life for many peoples. It not only sustains and nourishes people with high nutritional content, but it also sustains the land by regenerating soil, and saves water by requiring little water input. Soya monocrops, in opposition, provide less nutritional value to people while draining water and depleting the soil. Soya also rarely ends up directly as food for farmers. Dal, however, sustains the life and energy of the farmer, the land, and the water.

After affirming their commitment to saving their diverse seeds of pulses, the women each pulled from their shawls handfuls of homegrown dals to share in a communal pot. The mixed-together dals were ground by elder aunties—teaching new skills to younger women and children. All of the women shared in the grinding of the dals into flour, which was then mixed with local spices, water, and freshly picked curry leaves. The women laughed and joked which each other around a hot pan of mustard oil bubbling over a freshly built fire. Singing, thanking the mother in laws, and inviting the sister in laws to learn the traditional recipe were exchanged as multiple hands mixed and balled the dal pakora together.

After the dough balls fried briefly in the pan, scooped out by a diligent uncle, all the attendees gathered around to share masala chai and pakora together. In this way the affirmation to save diverse pulses became a community event. In the act of preserving seed, of declaring protection of indigenous local biodiversity, the women farmers also declared protection of their own diverse cultures and knowledge. The sun shone down as the women hugged and thanked each other, then tucked themselves back into their blue tuk-tuks to return to their life saving, earth regenerating work.

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Pulse of Life