NESFAS has always stressed on the importance of the role played by the youth in the promotion of agrobiodiversity and, for a while now, has set its sights on the creation of Youth Food Clubs in the North East. Thus, in an endeavour to extend its networks to the youths, Sankardev College invited NESFAS to organize a one day workshop at Shankardev College, Shillong, on July 1st. The program titled, “Promoting Agro biodiversity”, was attended by students from the Departments of Languages, Philosophy and Botany and was attended by as many as 60 interested students.
“We should evolve from what we have,” was the key point raised by Rahul Antao, consultant, NESFAS, during the discussion on Youth Food Clubs activities. “It is not that we are working towards going back to the stone age, what we are working on is improving on existing food habits and local traditions to fit the standards of our times”, he said.
In the interactive session that followed, the students took the time to brain storm on ways to create a youth food club and, strategies to keep youth food club members engaged. As youth themselves, the participants had clear insights into how the youth think and what are the best ways to connect with other youth. Novel ideas such as setting up training local centers for local food preparation, cooking competitions, interactions of different indigenous groups, poster campaigns and food festivals came up.
The ‘sensory games’ were the highlight of the event. These games use an innovative approach to food and taste education by getting participants to use all their five senses of taste, smell, touch, hearing and vision to guess what a given food item is. The underlying idea is to impart an understanding that for one to savour the different flavours of food, one must use all five senses.
Lecturer, Botany Department, Shankardev, Mrs M Umdor, in her closing speech stressed on the need for selfless volunteerism and an awareness of one’s roots and wariness towards intricacies of Global Market forms. She expressed her desire to see the Youth Food Movement becoming more than just a plan and her playing an active part in it.
The Youth Food Clubs initiated by NESFAS aim to connect youths to their local food and to further improve their food choices. NESFAS is taking definite steps towards widening the network throughout the state by meeting with students from various colleges and suggesting the creation of food clubs.