Agriculture Summit, World Crops and Ayurveda

I was lucky to have been able to attend the first ever Agricultural Summit in Toronto past week. The summit vibrated with all kinds of people from policy makers to urban farmers to designers and planners. Topics ranged from community gardens to roof top gardens to heroes that are leading the way in Urban Agriculture.

One topic that was very interesting to me was on World Crops. Fresh City Farms very own urban farmer, Amy Cheng, was a co-presenter at the discussion. For me this topic is even more interesting as I am originally from India and eat various kinds of ethnic vegetables. Canada has been seeing various kinds of world crops like bottle gourd, Indian okra, bitter gourd, amaranth showing up not only in ethnic supermarkets but also in mainstream stores.  Some of these vegetables are grown in Ontario but unfortunately most have travelled from far which is not very environmentally sustainable.  I have learnt from this farming season that certain vegetables like okra get rotten soon and must be consumed within a short time of harvesting……….I start wondering about those vegetables that have been on a long journey from faraway places they are probably laden with chemicals to keep fresh.  Therefore it is important we start growing such vegetables locally.

For those folks who have never tried world crops I would encourage you to try them for not only their taste but also for their nutritional value. For e.g. did you know according to the ancient science of Ayurveda raw juice of bottle gourd helps relieve stiffness in joints due to arthritis. Make sure when juicing vegetables you use organic and local vegetables for their highest nutrition.

Ayurveda also talks about freshness and purity of food and its benefits to physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health. Pure and fresh foods are called ‘sattvic’ foods.  We must all make sure we eat local and organic foods (sattvic) which have travelled from field to table in a short time.