Consume Green Organic Future Foods is a women-led agricultural social enterprise working to rejuvenate traditional foodways in northern India. The health of both the planet and the community are equal priorities for the organization.
According to a British Council report, 28 percent of social enterprises in India are involved in agriculture, fisheries, or dairy sectors, representing a rapidly growing industry. Enterprises concerned with agriculture are especially pertinent to India, as the sector employs 49 percent of the working population. In addition, the report finds that 24 percent of social enterprises are led by women, which is a larger share than in mainstream businesses.
Consume Green Organic Future Foods, or C.Green was founded in the northern Indian state of Himanchal Pradesh, nestled in the western Himalayas. It is one of the least urbanized states in the country, with most of the population depending on agriculture, pastoralism, seasonal herding, horticulture, and forestry.
“The idea of C.Green was crafted to revive and preserve the traditional wisdom of food, keeping in mind the health of the people and the soil,” Himanshu Kapoor, Founder of Consume Green Organic Future Foods, tells Food Tank. The rise of convenience foods and industrial agriculture pushed aside traditional recipes and methods of processing over time, and Kapoor’s enterprise looks to revive the lost grains of the community.
C.Green is by procuring all raw produce from local, smallholder farmers. In particular, Kapoor explains that C.Green employs “the women folk of the local farmer communities.” The company encourages traditional agricultural practices by returning fair prices to farmers for their products.
The grains are hand processed in the traditional style, using solar roasting power and manual pounding methods. “By reviving the traditional lost recipes, packaging and putting them on the shelf for today’s youth, we are saving the lost grains, millet and the oil seeds,” Kapoor tells Food Tank.
C.Green’s work to revive traditional foodways and grains is also helping restore plant biodiversity of the region. Kapoor recognizes that the health of the environment goes hand in hand with that of communities. The health of the soil “in turn helps in the health of the people,” she says.
Kapoor finds that industrialization has created strong attachments to convenience foods and negative attitudes towards agricultural work. “Finding people to work for the philosophy of reviving and preserving honest food is difficult,” Kapoor says.
But she doesn’t let the conventional system discourage her. Kapoor envisions expanding C.Green’s efforts to multiple units, “like kitchens for the local farmers and the women of the community to add value to the local raw produce.”
Kapoor maintains a clear vision in the creation of “a sustainable system which satisfies the farmer, the local community and the consumer, keeping the health of the soil and the people as the priority.”
Articles like the one you just read are made possible through the generosity of Food Tank members. Can we please count on you to be part of our growing movement? Become a member today by clicking here.
Photo courtesy of D’ram DJ, Wikimedia Commons