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What's organic?

Organic farming is a form of agriculture that relies on techniques such as crop rotation, green manure, compost, and biological pest control. Depending on whose definition is used, organic farming uses fertilizers and pesticides (which include herbicides, insecticides and fungicides) if they are considered natural (such as bone meal from animals or flowers), but it excludes or strictly limits the use of synthetic petrochemical fertilizers, pesticides, plant growth regulators such as hormones, livestock antibiotics, food additives, genetically modified organisms, human sewage sludge, and nanomaterials.

Organic agricultural methods are internationally regulated and legally enforced by many nations, based in large part on the standards set by the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM), an international umbrella organization for organic farming organizations established in 1972 .

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EarthCare Books and Shaymoli organise organic market evenings.
Haat ke
Abhishek Boral
Green Market: Not just organic greens, the haat had a stall sellling solar lanterns, one with waste cloth and recycled paper bags (spoiled by plastic tape patches,) handicrafts and even an area for live performances. Certainly, a celebration!
‘… haat boseche sukrubaare bakshiganje padmapare’ (Friday market is setup on the banks of River Paddya) wrote Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore. The Organic Haat by ecological self-help group Shyamoli and Earthcare Books was an innovative take on the existing concept of Haat. From organic egg plants and wax gourds to cage free poultry items this one of a kind market place at Earthcare Books / Drive In premises, in Kolkata, 15 and 16 of November, attracted a rational crowd.

"We have taken this initiative to bring together organic farmers, organisations selling eco-friendly various products and city consumers to celebrate nature and community," explained Bharat Mansata of Earthcare Books. Farmers from various districts of West Bengal offered a vast range of agricultural produce at competitive prices. "I believe in the concept of sustainability and see no reason why urban people opt for fancy packaged organic produce that is transported across miles, contributing to the cost and carbon footprint," said Aparajita Sengupta of ‘Shyamoli’ while explaining the environmental benefits of buying organic produce from local district farmers than going for branded organic produce. Aparajita, who was recently interviewed on EarthUpdated!TV, has been running an organic farm for some time.

The wide range of products for sale amazed visitors. Serifoon Chitrakar from East Midnapur district made heads turn with various paintings and homemade paints using vegetable extracts and waste matter. While Bikram Mitra of Earth Craft grabbed immediate attention with crafts and daily use articles made out of water hyacinth and coconut shells.

Other than the commercial aspects, organisers took a step forward to spread environmental awareness by having various workshops and eco-film screenings for visitors. Terrace farming workshop by Anshuman Das and pottery workshop by Juin Mayne was a big draw for visitors.

Green for Life Foundation (G4LF) made carry bags out of used household cloth and advocated the ‘No Plastic’ concept. The use of paper and cloth bags for all takeaways made an environmental statement at the haat. The baul songs playing in the background created the perfect atmosphere for the gathered who wanted to feel their connection to Mother Earth while shopping the eco friendly way.

More such haats should be held to reinforce the concept of Organic being accessible, not just an unaffordable luxury.

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