On 7th April 2017, NESFAS hosted its first ever Mei-Ramew Market, (Mei-Ramew means Mother Earth in the native Khasi language) which connected the people with local farmers in a mutually beneficial exchange.
The event gave locals a rare chance to directly interact with the farmers as opposed to just buying products of unknown origin from other markets, and it served as a pioneer platform to educate consumers about the diversity and origin of native products, some of which they may have never heard of.
Communities from Khweng, Ri-Bhoi and Nongtraw, East Khasi Hills showcased and sold their home-grown produce from shifting cultivation, kitchen gardens and wild edibles, presenting an extensive variety of fruits, vegetables, and smoked meats.
The event also boasted of a “NESFASkitchen” run by the staff of NESFAS, where visitors could buy a meal made from some of the ingredients sold, and be inspired to experiment with native ingredients and create new tastes in their own kitchens.
It introduced recipes like rice congee with wild edibles, and millet pancakes, prepared by Mrs. Anita Roy.
The Mei-Ramew market received a positive response from the community, who showed interest in the products displayed. Soh-jri and allarut were sold out within the first hour.
“The market was a great opportunity for us to not only sell our products, but it had also provided us with experiences and ideas which we can implement in the future,” Mrs. Redian Syiem, who had a stall representing the Khweng community, shared.
“Most of the people at the market, especially the youth, were quite inquisitive about the plants that we had showcased,” she said.
Another visitor, Miss Mavery, said, “I’m glad I came to this market because I was able to buy all these vegetables which are good for my grandmother because she can’t have anything oily.”
There was also a Mei-Ramew Weaves stall displaying hand-made eri-weaves from Umden, Khweng, and Mustoh, supporting local livelihoods, and a Mei-Ramew café stall selling indigenous delicacies such as putharo and ja-shulia, along with a hot cup of shiah krot (red tea).
NESFAS hopes to turn this initiative into a regular event, serving as yet another platform bringing people together and connecting people from all backgrounds and ages to the pleasures of tasty, clean and healthy local food.
For more photos of the first Mei-Ramew market, see gallery below: