BioFach India: a sign of the organic times

BioFach India kicks off in Hyderabad—go and learn the ins and outs of the organic movement.

Author Anna Rees, 11.29.12

BioFach India kicks off in Hyderabad—go and learn the ins and outs of the organic movement.

The organic movement has taken a verbal pounding. It’s been labelled a trend, a fad, a passing craze and derided as the terrain of tree-hugging hippies. Surely, your everyday consumer wouldn’t be interested in something so fancy-pants and “green” because, hey, aren’t we all tough enough to enjoy our eggplant with a side of pesticide?!

Sometime during the last decade of last century, the tables started to turn, and the organic movement started to proliferate substantially. As concerns started to mount over so-called “super foods” that were genetically engineered in a lab, crops that were doused in chemical-laden pesticides and debate escalated as to whether genetically modified (GM) foods and crops were really a solution to feeding the world, suddenly organic produce was no longer the laugh stock of the supermarket, flourishing worldwide and being promoted via everything from travelling food trucks in Southwest Michigan (check out the very informative and lovely website of the Organic Gypsy) to BioFach India, South Asia’s largest organic fair, currently taking place in Hyderabad.

There isn’t any whizzbang magic behind the organic movement. If anything, it’s a kind of throwback to more ancient times, before we had the technology and the science to produce crops and pesticides in a lab and the only option was to grow crops and foods organically.

Our friends over at The Alternative will be hosting a stand throughout BioFach called ‘Nature on my plate’, presenting a series of workshops and events to discuss the nutritional benefits of organic produce and demonstrate the exact journey of foods from soil to plate. Of particular noteworthiness (at least in our opinion) is the event ‘A Taste of Organic’—where you can go along and sample all sorts of delectable delights—as well the event ‘Is Organic what the Doctor Ordered’, where a series of health professionals will outline the nutritional value of organic produce compared to non-organic produce, a particularly relevant topic given the contention that surrounds GM foods and the ongoing campaigns in the country to keep GM crops and foods out of India.

The nutritional factor is a huge component of the organic vs. non-organic debate. Recently, the Occupy Monsanto movement released disturbing images of lab rats that were fed a diet of GM corn. The rats had developed mammary tumours and suffered liver and kidney damage. The photos belonged to a study that was carried out by French scientists and was met with huge scepticism among other researchers who noted that these types of rats were prone to mammary tumours. While certainly inconclusive, the study does poke the fire, sparking debate as to the exact safety of GM foods and plays out as a perfect metaphor for the back-and-forth nature of this argument.

With headlines worldwide warning that we are standing on the precipice of a global food crisis, the time could not be more ripe (pun intended) to learn about the organic movement. For more information on GM crops, check out our knowledge article on the topic here. The program for BioFach India can be found here and a rundown of the ‘Nature on my plate’ workshops is here.

Author: Anna Rees/ RESET editorial

Genetically Modified Crops

Genetically modified crops (GM crops) are crops which have had their DNA altered in a way that does not occur naturally. Individual genes which promote durability or nutritional value are transferred from one organism to another to create biologically robust plants.