Products from one's backyard

Products from one's backyard

The organic Malnad Mela has become an event that Bangaloreans enthusiastically wait for year after year. Now in its seventh edition, the two-day mela recently took place at the unusual location of the Golden Bead School playground. Organised by Vanastree, visitors had a variety of products to choose from — cloth bags, kurtas, patchwork bedspreads, clay pots, hair dyes and oils, balms and even natural vegetable colours for ‘Holi’ among others. Gardening enthusiasts not only had plenty of organic vegetable and flower seeds and plants but also tubers like arbi, yam and tapioca. 

But it was the range of food items that was most inviting, with items like kokam nectar, preserves, banana chips, pickles, tambli powders and chutney pudi. Another authentic item that caught the fancy of many was thoda dev, a preparation made from sugarcane juice, jaggery and rice. The live counter with traditional dishes from the malnad was also a big hit, with foodies seen gorging on the freshly prepared dosa, masala papad, bonda and drinking healthy glasses of kashayam and kokam with visible delight.

Interesting addition to the mela this year were the house plants from ‘Scaperz’ and a stall selling affordable solar lights from ‘One Child One Light Foundation’. “This is our first time here and the response has been good in terms of the feedback and questions asked. There are more queries than sales but that was our goal in the first place,” said Parmesh Subramaniam, who was running the ‘One Child One Light Foundation’ stall. The community spirit was made even stronger with a box at the entrance for visitors to donate old T-shirts and corks, which would be recycled into bags and bottle stoppers respectively.

This was the fourth edition of the mela for Lina Krishnan, a visitor. “It’s a little smaller than usual but I eagerly wait for this because there’s always something to buy. I mainly came here for my regular quota of seeds for gardening but ended up sampling the kokam candy and buying lots of it. Even the Bhoomi books on Earth consciousness were interesting,” she said.

Ranganathan, a first-time visitor, added, “It had a very nice vibe and I’m happy with the items I’ve bought. But the options were quite limited and there could have been a lot more stalls. The concept of such a mela is commendable, which is why it has to be expanded and presented in a bigger way.”

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