The concluding day of the Indigenous Terra Madre saw a joyous celebration of food, music, dance and culture as delegates and public mingled at the Mei-Ramew Food Festival at the Sacred Grove, Mawphlang.
An estimated 60,000 people flocked to the Mei-Ramew Food Festival on Saturday, 7th November, 2015 as the Indigenous Terra Madre concluded amid much fanfare at the Sacred Grove, Mawphlang.
Around 40 food stalls showcased dishes from diverse regions such as Thailand, Sweden, Tamil Nadu, Punjab and of course all the Northeastern States. From morning itself, people were seen enjoying the fare with their friends and family on the greens that spontaneously transformed into a picnic area. Dignitaries from the region, including members of the cabinet were present throughout the event. In the afternoon, the Chief Minister, Dr. Mukul Sangma arrived and took the dais. He lauded the organizers of the event, especially NESFAS, for their efforts to get over 140 global indigenous communities to Meghalaya for this prestigious event. He emphasized that “This event has helped us open our eyes to the potentialities around us; it has shown our ability to be the best hosts”. The cultural program organized for the delegates and public was launched amid must fanfare thereafter, while the CM was led to the special ITM Kitchen for lunch, where, during pre-decided time slots, four Chef pairings (one local and one international Chef) worked together to dish up a plated array of delicacies. The public too savoured the mouthwatering foods on offer, while enjoying a breathtaking view of the mountains around.
On stage, various dance troupes from the region such as the Nagas, Mizos, Kukis as well as international acts such as the Karen singers from Thailand and Mongolian throat singers regaled the audience with their performances. One of the highlights of the event was the Biodiversity Fair, which attracted a lot of audience, seen visiting the stalls, where the rich natural diversity of the Northeast was on display, in the form of produce such as rice, honey, millet and various flora and fauna. The Video Room where short films were screened was also a popular haunt for the young and the old alike. NESFAS, had put up a stall with The Hive – A Honey Bar, Kids’ Kitchen Initiative, the Presedia project as well as a showcase of various other projects that they have undertaken with the communities. In the Heritage Village, the Eri Weaves showcase ‘Looms of Change’ was one of the most popular, with visitors crowding to see the live floor handloom weaving demonstration, and were seen eagerly buying the silk stoles and shawls. Non-government organizations supporting artists from other parts of India such as Vanastree, Gorilla Market, Empower and Warli painters from Maharashtra also exhibited their arts and crafts.
During the evening, the UN Declaration was read out in the presence of NESFAS Chairman Phrang Roy and representatives from seven continents, each vibrant in their indigenous dress, who had gathered in Shillong for the ITM. Thereafter, the ITM 2015 Award of Appreciation was presented by Phrang Roy to Alan Christensen from the Christensen Fund for supporting and funding the event. The show ended with the crowd enthusiastically joining the performers gathered on stage to sing the ITM theme song ‘Ko Mei-Ramew’. The event concluded at twilight with an extraordinary display of sound and light using the Sacred Grove as a backdrop, which mesmerized the entire crowd.