The Farmers’ Market Returns

Excited on hearing about the restart of the Farmers’ Market after the monsoon break, we set aside half a Sunday to explore the market. However, we didn’t get enough from the visit for all the excitement built up beforehand.

A neat concept ideated and implemented by Kavita Mukhi, the Farmers’ market connects organic farmers across Maharashtra to the organic produce enthusiasts of Mumbai. Season 2 of this well-received event was held last Sunday at Nilgiri Garden, Bandra, Mumbai.

We walked in to the market a good two hours after its opening, only to be disappointed. Maybe, our expectations were too high after the recent visit to the early morning market in Dal Lake, Srinagar.

Omved products greeted us with their high price tags. Are they worth it? Is having an organic tag the licence to price high? What got us thinking in this direction is the price of a scrubbing pad made of Ramacham (khus grass). The same stuff without the Omved label costs only a fraction of this price. The scrubber looks exactly the same including the plastic lining to hold the grass together. Is plastic organic?

We moved on to the vegetable section. While we went looking for a colourful assortment of vegetables as in a local market, we were greeted only by a few carrots, bitter gourds, beans, capsicums, tomatoes, a few baskets of onions and potatoes, and many bunches of coriander leaves. We were not sure whether other veggies got sold out in the first two hours or the choice/supply is limited to these few. Fruits section only had guavas, which were really tasty.

The vegetables didn’t seem overpriced, only a bit higher than regular market prices, which is fair as there is more cost and effort involved in going organic. However, the overall market had only a small shelf share for farm produce. The counters for snacks, refreshments, handicrafts, cosmetics, and other knickknacks occupied a major portion. None of them inspired emptying our pockets.

A stall to promote solar lighting showcased a product that is assembled using German components and installed in the rural areas. The kids section had two to three kids doing painting. We did not understand what its purpose was. Maybe, just to have the kids occupied when the parents go around the stalls.

Overall, we think the Farmers’ Market is a good concept, but it does not live up to its claims. Maybe, there are many hurdles for the organisers to increase the scope.

6 Comments on “The Farmers’ Market Returns

  1. In such events organised by a Government Agency, the participating farmers are required to book a stall or a small area for a big price. That accounts for the price tags. Even here in Bhopal for several years they organise a Vana Mela (Where every kind of forest produce is sold) and the story is the same. Nice photographs.

  2. It was great to know that a Farmer’s market was held in Bombay. Its a good start, i guess. I lived in Andhra for a few years and there was the ‘Rythu Bazaar’ being held in many towns and cities (in Telugu, Rythu means farmer). The government was supporting this program. Farmers came early morning by special buses into the city and directly sold their produce. This eliminated the middlemen and also offered people a good price. These became very popular.

  3. Hi Bindhu! Maybe it will improve in the future… 😉

    Thanks for your comment on my blog. I’m going to be offline working in a «remote» location next week, but left you in a new destination in Blogtrotter Two… Enjoy and have a great week!

  4. I guess it will take time to really take hold. I wanted to attend this year, but its just too far, even for organic veggies…. I remember the weekly markets in Delhi when I was a kid. They used to be really fun, and you got things dirt cheap too! But the way they worked was in rotation, The same chaps had a market in one area on Monday, the other area on Tuesday and so on,… Maybe they should think of something on similar lines so that all of us could use them!

    and as to the kids painting, thats all there is to it…. to keep the kids busy while parents shop. I took Samhith to Crossword a couple of times for their evening sessions, but then it wasnt so interesting after all…. except the interaction with other kids!

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