Crop Connect Chronicles


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Maati Sangathan- Empowering women at a height of 7500 feet!

The village of Sarmoli is located at 7500 feet on the slopes above Munsiari in the Kumaon Himalaya of Uttarakhand. It is a beautiful place that was earlier a pass through for tourists but now boasts of 15 homestays. This has been possible by the active involvement of Maati Sangathan members.

Maati is a group of local mountain women who have come together to work for the betterment and development of the people of the region in various aspects, ranging from crisis intervention, combating alcoholism, promoting responsible tourism to working towards environmentally sustainable development and generating employment opportunities for women.

Founded in the 1990s by local women along with Malika Virdi, Maati spoke up against the growing violence on women and came out to protest against liquor sales and its rampant use. Since then, they have been working towards a number of critical issues that impact the well-being and subsistence economies of forest dependent mountain communities.

 

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Our team with the women of Maati Sangathan

 

Maati has laid stress on livelihood support for women in order to empower them. They have found out means to earn, through selling their agricultural produce like rajma and homemade snacks, starting homestays and tour guide programmes, and creating a market for their handicrafts including carpets, rugs, blankets, sweaters, etc. All the Maati members are farmers themselves and they grow local produce on their farms. At Original Indian Table, we procure a variety of products from them, especially the different kinds of rajma and Himalayan herbs, which taste delightful owing to the efforts these women have put in and also due to the agro-climatic conditions at high altitudes.

 

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The women of Maati cleaning the rajma sourced by Original Indian Table

 

In 2003, after being elected as the Sarpanch of the village Van Panchayat (Forest Commons), Malika along with the women of the Sangathan  started taking up the responsibility of their forests by regular afforestation and structured the use of the forest’s produce like grass, wood and leaves.

In the realm of environmentally sustainable development, Maati is contributing by encouraging the use of solar lanterns and organic seeds.  They also oppose destruction in the name of development, that is, large hydrological projects that will adversely impact the livelihood of the people and ecology of the region.

Maati has set a benchmark for women development in the hills where women were earlier not involved in any public matters. They have made a lot of achievements and are right on the road to development, in pace with nature.  Maati signifies a rural transformation that empowers women as well as is ecologically sensitive.

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Winter is coming!

The onset of winter and the decrease in temperature brings with it an increase in sickness, but there are ways to tackle it. This winter, build up your immunity and be prepared. Boost your health this season with our healthy products.  Go the traditional way and eat what your grandmoms always suggested during these chilly months, and brace your body for the cold.

Black Sesame Jaggery Bites are the best for the winter season. It makes a delicious snack while providing you with all the necessary nutrients. Made of black sesame seeds, which has been deemed as the perfect ingredient for winter, black sesame bites also contain jaggery and ghee which further make it best suited for the winter.

Rich in sesamin, sesamolin and omega-3 fatty acids, black sesame is good for the skin and heart health. It is also rich in calcium which strengthens the bones. Jaggery is processed in an iron karahi which makes it a rich source of iron.

In addition to all these, these’ til ka ladoo’s are delectable and mouthwatering. You cannot get enough of them.

Sounds perfect, doesn’t it? We have more in store!

Walnuts from Himachal Pradesh are the secret of the hills for combating the chilly winds.  Rich in omega 3 fats and minerals, walnuts enhance your immune system and are good for cognitive health, hair and skin.

Brew yourself a hot cup of Chamomile tea to taste the freshness and strengthen your immunity simultaneously.  Chamomile tea from the hills in Kumaon region of Uttarakhand is rich in antioxidants and flavonoids; add some ginger to it and you are good to go.

Winters are traditionally accompanied with spicy dishes of Rajma and hence we bring the best variety to you, straight from Munsiari in Uttarakhand. Rajma is rich in proteins that aid in maintaining the integrity of the body tissues. Cooked with Gandrayani herb, it is the best combination to have on chilly winter afternoons.

Gandrayani herb has numerous medicinal properties. It aids in digesting pulses by counter-acting on the pulse protein inhibitors. Taken with honey, Gandrayani acts as a remedy for cough and congestion. Bring on the cold now!

Last but not the least, we have our seasonal product. Winter is when the best quality lemons are harvested in the hills. So we bring to you the Lemon Rind Himalayan Rock Salt. The vitamin C in lemon not only wards off cold and flu but also builds immunity and the minerals in rock salt and pepper aid digestion.

Stock up on all these products and you are all set for the winter season.  Backed by a strong immune system, enjoy the cold to the fullest.