Sunday, August 19, 2012

Safe food mela mention in Hindu

after the Dinamalar did it couple of days agao, Hindu gives a good coverage to the safe food mela at Kodambakkam ..

News » Cities » Chennai

Chennai, August 18, 2012

Going back to clean, healthy source

K. Sarumathi
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organic stalls: People at the food stalls put up during the mela held at Anna Park, United India Colony, Kodambakkam. Photo: R. Shivaji Rao
The Hindu organic stalls: People at the food stalls put up during the mela held at Anna Park, United India Colony, Kodambakkam. Photo: R. Shivaji Rao
India for Safe Food and Safe Food Alliance have been setting up organic food melas in various cities.
It is said things come back in full circle and it seems true for agriculture as well. From old methods of natural farming to using chemicals and pesticides for increasing production, many are now turning back to the traditional methods. Health is the all encompassing reason behind it.
With numerous scholarly papers on health hazards of pesticide usage in food and hullabaloo created about genetically modified vegetables, people have been forced to think twice before buying from local department stores.
A luscious apple might have been polished with wax, the beautiful greens (the supreme source of wellness) might have artificial colour in them, and behind the tempting smell of mango the sinister calcium carbide might be at work. If health boosters become health imperilments, where do people turn to? ‘Go organic’ seems to be the call of many.
India for Safe Food, an electronic forum, is a movement being spearheaded by ASHA (Alliance for Sustainable and Holistic Agriculture). Working in the area of agriculture, environment, farmer and consumer rights, the forum has been trying to shift attention of consumers on alternative food choices.
With no chemical, no GM as its tagline, it has joined hands with other organisations to bring ‘safe food’ option to people. Along with Safe Food Alliance, the forum, run by group of volunteers, has been setting up organic food melas in various cities.
Stalls put up
After the success of the first mela in the city, the forum decided to reach out to more people and with the help of local groups like Exnora, it organised a safe food mela at Anna Park, United India Colony, Kodambakkam recently.
Stalls were put up by six organic outlets including, Dhanyam (T. Nagar), Vanilla Organic (West Mambalam), Vendure organic, Aditya organic (Vadapalani), Restore organic (Adyar), and Nalla Keerai (Thiruninravur).
To encourage home grown food, special stalls on terrace gardening and composting were also put up. A three-pot composting system was explained to visitors as a means of converting household waste into manure for home gardens. People were also treated to ready-to-eat food made from organic products.
Getting very good response from residents, Ananthoo, member of Safe Food Alliance, said, “More local groups should come forward and help us spread this message. If we don’t reach the grass root levels, the campaign will have no meaning at all. The Government should also encourage opening of organic stores at the taluk level. Safe food option should be accessible and affordable to all.”
While many visitors said that they would make a conscious effort to shift to organically grown food, some like Balasubramanium, a retired engineer, said that the cost of organic food is prohibitive. “With prices of food increasing, not many can afford to go organic. These food items are priced high, and why spend so much on items one can get at a less rate in department stores,” asks Balasubramaniam.
But Ananthoo says that the demand and supply rule will apply to organic food as well.
“With demand increasing, prices will fall automatically. Also there is something known as fair price which determines the cost of products in the market. Moreover, prices of organic food item are marked up only by 10 to 15 per cent.”
There were others who refused to make any changes in their food buying habits. “How can we be sure what organic stores sell indeed are organic,” they asked.
To lend support
While the debate on whether to stick to food sold in super markets or change to organic alternatives goes on, people who want to lend support to India for Safe Food can log on to and sign the online petition for policy change and access to safe food. People can also give a missed call to 022-3301 0031 in support of the cause.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Safe Food Mela at Kodambakkam on 12th Aug 3-7pm

Safe Food Alliance & Kodambakkam Exnora Womens Guild,
and Anna Park Walkers Exnora
Jointly organise
Safe Food Mela

                          Organic Snacks, Sale of Organic products
Awareness Exhibition, Gardening & composting tips

3.00 P.M to 7.00 PM, Sunday Aug 12th 2012
 Anna Park (Chennai Corporation) United India Colony
Kodambakkam, Chennai – 600 024 Cell: 9840958713

Chennai citizens can look forward to an interesting and informative Safe Food Mela create awareness about toxic chemical residues in food and urging consumers to switch to safe organic alternatives, this mela is the combined effort of several non-profit organizations, youngsters spearheading the organic foods movement and organic enterprises. The Mela is expected to be attended by personalities from the film world, musicians, writers  and intellectuals.

The Safe Food Mela is part of a nation-wide campaign called INDIA FOR SAFE FOOD (, which seeks to promote chemical-free farming and alternatives to toxic technologies like synthetic pesticides and Genetically Modified foods.  India continues to use many pesticides that have been banned in other countries and many of these are known to be carcinogenic, endocrine-disrupting or reproductive-toxicants. Many studies including in the public sector laboratories, show our food, water and soil, and even breast-milk are contaminated with pesticides.

The Mela in Kodambakkam will have organic outlets from around the city setting up their stalls with a variety of products (fresh greens, millets, traditional rices, honey, snacks etc.), as also food-stalls selling tasty ready to eat organic fare.  Awareness material about toxics in foods, traditional and safe foods, and urban gardening will also be on display.

The Safe Food Mela promises to offer fun for the entire family, and the opportunity to change the way you consume food. After all, as the saying goes, You Are What You Eat! Enjoy the joys of organic food, and join the India For Safe Food Movement. You can endorse the cause by giving a missed call on 022-3301 0031 and log on to for more information.

                                       For more information contact
     Mrs Meenakshi                         Ananthoo                          R.Govindaraj
           (Exnora)                         (Safe Food Alliance)                     (Exnora)
   Cell: 9840958713                     Cell: 9444166779                  Cell: 9941007058

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

coverage in pasumai vikatan

pl do sign the petition here: 
spread the word and get more signs for the petition and ensure safe food for all.
also do give a missed call as an additional expression of support for this 022-3301 0031
Ask your friends also to give missed call.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Out Reach program at Besant Nagar Beach!

A few of us from safe Food Alliance, Chennai did have this outreach program at the Besant Nagar beach as slated, yesterday.
We went around the beach with copies of petition, distributing leaflets about Safe Food, notice carrying list  of organic outlets in Chennai with a write up of why should one go organic - and collecting signatures endorsing our petition from all out there.

The public in general were very receptive. many in fact thanked us for doing this. there were may youth who said they were happy we were doing it for them and they will spread the word around..

In a matter of 2 hours we got close to 450-500 signatures..and we also urged many to give missed calls..

The SFA volunteers were very happy but I would think we can get more signatures by targeting corporates (esp IT firms) and colleges.

want to volunteer?  write to us at safefoodalliance (at)gmail

Please visit
for more information..also to volunteer or know more on ecological farming or organic outlets  or just to sign the online petition..
Pl do spread the word (and this link)

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The mela was a grand success..some 3000+ people came..many celebrities came and endorsed the cause.. it was so heartening to see many of them come...people also turned up in huge numbers..hope the movements gets the pace it required for long! Thanks to u all who spread thru FB and email and word of mouth!

quite some good coverage..
cudnt get the tamil news paper links..dinamalar & dinamani covered well!
many more of the weeklies have taken bites and gone..
vikatan and hindu site have the video uploaded too! (cudnt get the links here)
There were many volunteers who made this possible..its up to all of us to keep the pace and take the movement forward.
Thanks to all involved...

Monday, June 25, 2012

Safe Food Mela - Media Reports

There have been several online and offline media reports of the Safe Food Mela in the Semmozhi Poonga on 24th June 2012, Sunday between 3 and 8 p.m. Following are but a few scanned media clips.

Deccan Chronicle



Times of India


The New Indian Express

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Scenes from the Safe Food Mela, Semmozhi Poonga - happening now...

Crowds throng the Semmozhi Poonga for the Safe Food Mela...launch of the India for Safe Food campaign. People sign petitions seeking Safe Food to the Agricultural Minister...

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Safe Food Mela at Chennai's Semmozhi Poonga


Safe Food Mela at Chennai's Semmozhi Poonga

The mela will showcase various safe food options — tasty organic foods and snacks to buy and eat, traditional rices and millet foods, fresh greens and mangoes, a stall on terrace and urban gardening, information on the ills and effects of pesticides in our food, the implications of Genetically Modified foods

A Safe Food Mela in Chennai is to be conducted at Semmozhi Poonga (campus of the former Woodlands Drive-in) on June 24, 2012, between 3 and 7 p.m. with participation from many organic outlets, organic farmer groups and other safe food enthusiasts. This mela will showcase various safe food options — tasty organic foods and snacks to buy and eat, traditional rices and millet foods, fresh greens and mangoes, a stall on terrace and urban gardening, information on the ills and effects of pesticides in our food, the implications of Genetically Modified foods (more information at
Poison in food
Today, Indian agriculture uses hundreds of toxic chemicals which end up contaminating water, soil and food. Studies indicate that vegetables, fruits, staple cereals and pulses, meat, milk, eggs and poultry, in addition to drinking water and processed foods/beverages are contaminated with poisonous residues to various degrees. Studies show that pesticide exposure is correlated with serious health risks including cancers, endocrine disruption causing thyroid, gynaecological, and diabetes disorders, and so on. There is also much that is wrong with the regulatory system and approach related to chemical pesticides in the country.
Policy and alternatives
Governments have allowed toxins in farming and food even while there is ample evidence and experience on the ground to show that farming can indeed be taken up profitably without the use of such technologies. An example of this is the Community Managed Sustainable Agriculture project in Andhra Pradesh, supported by the State government’s rural development department that has managed to wean away lakhs of farmers from chemical pesticides successfully — farmers, in this approach called NPM (Non Pesticidal Management of crops), are finding agriculture more viable and profitable.
Safe food, sustainable farming
India for Safe Food seeks to create awareness amongst all citizens about the ill-effects of chemical pesticides and other toxins in food, how change is indeed possible and gets citizens to make the government responsible for ensuring access to safe food for all.
In this initiative, ASHA*, SFA* and many like-minded organisations are reaching out to citizens through educational institutions, residents’/citizens’ welfare associations, consumer organisations, political leaders, eminent citizens, celebrities and so on, for this ‘awareness-and-positive-action’ mobilisation.
Other than Chennai, melas, film-screenings and other events will be held in Delhi, Patna Bangalore, Bhubaneswar, Mumbai, Kolkata and other cities over the next few weeks.
Ask your government
An important aspect of the campaign is a petition asking the Union Agriculture Minister to take steps towards government support for organic farming and distribution, ensuring wide access to safe foods, banning dangerous pesticides etc. A number of personalities — actors, musicians, artists, writers and intellectuals are expected to endorse the petition during the Mela. The petition can be signed online by anyone at
For more information, please contact Ananthoo, Safe Food Alliance via email at

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Safe Food Mela, Chennai -24th June 2012

Safe Food Mela in Chennai would be conducted in the Semmozhi Poonga on the 24th June 2012 with participation from many organic outlets across Chennai, organic farmer groups, wom en’s groups, individuals and other safe food enthusiasts. This mela will show case various safe food options, stalls that show the ills and effects of pesticides and other poison in our food, traditional food, millets as way of healthy practice, organic food produce/products, sustainable agriculture, etc.

Many farmer groups and celebrities will be participating and endorsing this safe food movement which will be taken across to various cities. In Chennai many more events like screening of movies  followed by talk/discussion, safe food display and competitions, street plays, reaching out to public/public engagements at various public places like malls, beaches, etc  will take place.

Come Join! Be a volunteer or just Participate, propagate and benefit!

For more information, contact
Ananthoo, 09444166779

சென்னை செம்மொழி பூங்காவில், ஜூன் மாதம் இருபது நான்காம் தேதி பாதுகாப்பான உணவு விழா 


……is a movement for change amongst Indian farmers, consumers and the government to ensure that all Indians have access to safe food. This movement is being spearheaded by ASHA (Alliance for Sustainable & Holistic Agriculture) across the nation and SFA across TN.

Today, Indian agriculture consumes hundreds of toxic chemicals which end up contaminating various natural resources (water, soil etc.) and our food. 

Studies indicate that our vegetables, fruits, staple cereals and pulses, meat, milk, eggs and poultry, in addition to drinking water and processed foods/beverages are all contaminated to various degrees. The residues of chemical pesticides that we are exposed to in numerous ways are also reflected in the “body burden” that we carry, as different studies show (‘body burden’ is the load of toxic chemicals and contaminants from various sources and through different exposure routes, in our body)

Epidemiological studies also indicate that pesticides are correlated with environmental health disasters unfolding in particular pockets of the country. There is also much that is wrong with the regulatory system and approach related to chemical pesticides in the country.

Monday, March 26, 2012

10 years of Bt Cotton in India / Tamilnadu

பி டி பருத்தி தமிழகத்திற்கு வந்து 10  ஆண்டுகள் ஆகிவிட்டன. இருந்தும் நாம் சரியான பாடம் கற்றுக்கொண்டோமா? நமது தவறுகளிலிருந்து புரிந்துக்கொள்வோமா?  ஓர் விவர ஆய்வறிக்கை : SFA- பாதுகாப்பான உணவிற்கான கூட்டமைப்பு இந்த 10 ஆண்டுகளில் பி.டி. பருதியின் பயணத்தை அரசாங்க தரவுகளிளிருந்தே தகவல் சேகரித்து வெளியிடுகிறது. தயவு செய்து இதனை பார்த்து இந்த தகவல் எல்லோருக்கும் சென்றடைய உதவுங்கள். (download report in Tamil)

Dear Friends!

It is 10 years since Bt Cotton was introduced in India / Tamil Nadu. That is the only Genetically Modified crop (though rated non food crop) allowed and it is time the Govt and policy makers think through it strongly and see the stark realities.

Safe Food Alliance has brought out a detailed report in Tamil on " A decade of Bt Cotton in Tamil Nadu". It is important that this analysis and data has to reach more people and especially farmers. Hope you all see this document and ensure good press mention.

Pl note that Bt cotton has failed in its single stated mission of reduction of pesticide and hence input costs. Scientific studies and data from Government and seed company's sites prove this, as detailed in the report. The target pest bollworm has developed tolerance to Bt , whereas secondary pests like mealy bugs and whiteflies which were hitherto unseen are causing major damage. At the farmer level, pesticide spraying increased heavily after the first three years of advent of Bt.

On the yield front too it is not all that hunky dory as they want us to believe. The 6 year average preceding the introduction of BT in 2002 is 290.17 kilos per hectare, where as the next 6 years after BT’s advent is 272.17 kilos. Infact there are fantastic yields like 316 and 324 kilos in years before Bt.
It is indeed a worrying factor that inspite of being pulled up by the Advertisement 
regulator for having made claims about benefits of genetically modified ( GM) cotton which was dismissed as baseless by the watch dog regulator.

Official information shows that Bt cotton requires more inputs in terms of fertilizers and irrigation and  it is estimated that Bt cotton farmers have lost Rs.10,000 crores due to crop failure. Even the government compensation of Rs.2000 crores is quite small considering the loss.

Talking of loss, what of  farmers' distress and suicides? In all, the situation out there is stark and it is sad that we are letting these companies get away with false promises, selling myths and hypes.

This is a wake-up call for the Government, Parliamentarians, policy-makers, farmer organizations and media to closely examine the crisis in the cotton belt and critically re-assess the 10 years of Bt cotton. The government should stop promoting Bt cotton and pro-actively advise farmers about its unsuitability and risks. We cant keep ignoring the fact that there are successful and productive eco friendly practices to control and combat pests.
It is shameful that while the Indian farmer is reeling under the crisis and Bt Cotton faced its worst failure, the recent State of Indian Agriculture report talks of Bt Cotton as an unqualified success and promotes GM technology as a magic bullet. GM technology has clearly demonstrated what it can do to a country like India.

What India needs is a an approach for food security that is rooted on protecting farmer livelihoods and income, farm and seed sovereignty, safe food for all, and democratic decision-making on agriculture science, research and technology. 

 (download report in Tamil) 

Feel free to contact us: Safe Food Alliance: Ananthoo, 9444166779 | Ram, 9444957781 | Selvam, 9443663562

Monday, March 5, 2012

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Feb 9th is National Safe Food Day !!

Coalition for a GM-Free India
Press Release

Feb 9th is National Safe Food Day !!
Coalition for a GM-Free India celebrates Feb 9th as National Safe Food Day
New Delhi: February 9, 2012: On the second anniversary of the decision taken by the then Minister for Environment & Forests to declare a moratorium on Bt brinjal, the Coalition for a GM-Free India has decided to mark and celebrate February 9th as National Safe Food Day!
Two years back, tens of thousands of Indians had spoken loudly and clearly to say that we do not want GM food. More than 8000 people attended the public consultations and the Minister took the moratorium decision saying it was “responsible to science and responsive to society” and we agree!
Sridhar Radhakrishnan, Convener of the Coalition said, “On this day we request the Government of India to continue to keep India free of GM food and exhort all Indians to remember that our food safety, food security and food sovereignty are in our hands! We can’t allow our children’s food to be contaminated by GMOs or to be laced with poisonous pesticides or additives. We need to become vigilant stewards of our food and agriculture and every one of us should take ownership!”
The Coalition also considers the moratorium only as a pause, however; there are deeply disturbing developments on the GM crops front in India. GEAC has been regularly granting approvals for field trials and for the next two seasons, 38 GMOs across 13 crops in 16 states have been approved. Every field trial is an open-air release of an untested, new organism in Nature and consequently a threat to biodiversity, given the unproven, imprecise, unpredictable, uncontrollable and irreversible nature of the technology. The threat is compounded by numerous biosafety violations that are regularly taking place during various field trials with impunity and without any liability fixed for such violations by the regulators.1
Further, the Biotechnology Regulatory Authority Bill (BRAI) which is slated to be tabled in Parliament to replace GEAC and the current imperfect regulatory mechanism has fundamental flaws in its design, including due to its inherent conflict of interest. As per the Bill the regulatory authority will be under the Ministry of Science & Technology which through its Department of Biotechnology (DBT) is mandated to promote GM crops. Therefore the promoter and regulator will be the same!2
GM technology in agriculture is being promoted in India, as a way to reduce pesticide use; already reports from the field indicate that within the first decade pesticide usage in Bt cotton fields has gone up and pest resistance build-up has been documented by the NARS scientists. Herbicide Tolerant (HT) crops which are under field trials are pesticide promoting crops as they encourage the blanket use of patented herbicides to control weeds.
More peer-reviewed scientific evidence has emerged in the meantime about more environmental, human health problems of GM crops while reports from the field about increased pest resistance, emergence of super weeds, contamination of water bodies are coming from all over. One of the latest studies has shown that Bt protein consumed through GM food can move from the intestine to the blood stream and from there to the foetus.

The United States which has the maximum area under GM crops is reeling under the “super-weeds” crisis; already 21 weed species have developed resistance to the glyphosate herbicide used along with the HT GM crop and the problem has spread to over 15 million acres of farm land. Pesticide usage (herbicides, weedicides, and insecticides) on GM crops has increased manifold in the decade and a half since the introduction of GM crops. Reports from Latin America detail health problems due to widespread use of glyphosate, the patented herbicide used along with HT crops.

European countries have almost completely stopped GM crop cultivation within their borders. Transnational biotech companies are exiting from Europe citing that “it does not make business sense” to continue because of sustained opposition from farmers, consumers and policy makers. It is clear from the above statement that these corporations are not in the business of GM seeds to feed the hungry, but to fill their coffers”, said Pankaj Bhushan, Co-Convener of the Coalition. It is time that exited from India too, he said.

Events that have unfolded around the world since the moratorium clearly shows that GM crops are on the way out and India should in no way open the doors for this outdated, unpredictable and unsafe technology. On the other hand, clear evidence is emerging that safe and sufficient food for all can be ensured through sustainable agriculture adopting agro-ecological approaches; once again we exhort the government and people to ensure that all Indians have access to Safe Food, by asking the Prime Minister of India to scrap the faulty BRAI Bill and by urging the Minister for Environment and Forests to ensure that the bar on regulation is not lowered in any way but only improved !
For more details contact :
Sridhar Radhakrishnan : 09995358205
Pankaj Bhushan : 09472999999
Nishank - 0901586930
Also visit :
and Facebook - NATIONAL SAFE FOOD DAY - 2nd Anniversary of the Bt Brinjal Moratorium !
1 In the last one year, Mahyco planted illegal RR cotton as part of its field trial, Monsanto Gm maize field trial had unapproved GM maize planted, these are the ones which have come to light, the same trials have been repeated in various locations in the country.