A lot of the food today is grown in one place, transported to another, packed in a third, and later sold and consumed in a fourth. The food needs to travel long distances until it ends up on our plates which is not only extremely bad for the environment it is also extremely bad for the farmers and producers.
Buying and consuming local food it’s not only way better for the environment, but it’s also way more beneficial for the local community and their economy. It is a way to support and strengthen farmers and local producers.
It keeps the food where it was grown. It’s also encouraging their local practices and sustainable agriculture. It is therefore important to improve local food farming. Locally produced and locally consumed food is about food security and according to International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights The Committee declared that “the right to adequate food is realized when every man, woman, and child, alone or in community with others, has physical and economic access at all times to adequate food or means for its procurement”.
Mushrooms are amazing!
Also quick to grow…
Mushrooms are not only important from a nutritional or medicinal point of view but their cultivation also provides additional income and employment to the farmers in rural areas of Ladakh. Conditions in rural Ladakh are a little different from the ordinary. In the villages, the local farmers “depend” on each other in one way or another and usually cooperate throughout the seasons. Most of the people in Ladakh depend on agriculture and the cultivation of local farming. The cultivation of vegetables is among the most dominant source of food for the people in Ladakh, where the cultivation of mushrooms can contribute to one of the most important sources of nutrition for the local people during the winter season when land cultivation is not possible.
Mushrooms are also quick to grow, it can take up to one month to grow and require a small amount of water, which is also a limited resource in the mountain area. Mushroom farming contributes to promoting sustainable agriculture, especially in difficult conditions such as places like Nubra Valley, Ladakh.
Together with Stanzin Dorja, a mushroom farming specialist, our supervisor Rigzin Gurmet, and Stanzin Kunfan we went to the village Ayee in Nubra Valley for mushroom farming training. With assistance from Future Earth and Ladakh Ecological Development Group organized and performed a two-day mushroom training together with around forty local farmers of which the majority were women.
On the first day, we all joined together in the garden of Labgang (local man), a progressive organic farmer from Nyee to start the training. The training started with some basic theory and later a Q&A. During the training, mushroom expert Stanzin Dorja explained the health benefits of mushrooms as part of one’s diet and how the cases of diseases such as diabetes are increasing in society. Mushrooms can be a source of high nutrition and in the long term can help improve health and the immune system, especially in a regular diet. Which can help cure diseases like diabetes.
On the second day, we all joined together as well to continue the training. This day was more practical and the farmers got to learn practical knowledge on how mushroom farming is made. The local women and men got the amazing opportunity to learn how to grow Oyster mushrooms, which is a fantastic mushroom to grow. It can grow incredibly fast and become large enough to feed several families. The whole training ended with all of us sharing the homemade food and tea which really showed their strong community work and gratitude. It was fantastic to experience their openness and warmth towards each other and everyone participating.
Now the cultivation is set, in a month we will go back to see if the farmers got any set of mushrooms.
Elin Franzén & Linnea Agerstig Sterlinger
Ladakh Ecological Development Group