Millets grow aplenty in India, provide rich nutrition in local diets, and survive in drought prone areas. But millets are hard to find today in most Indian cuisine. Knowledge of millets and their benefits, and of millet based recipes is marginal at best among consumers. Even in places where millets are cultivated in reasonable quantities, very few families eat millets today. This translates to very little returns for farmers growing these grains, who have had to turn to cultivating other crops, taking on even larger risks, with some getting caught in a deadly debt spiral/chakravyuh.
MTR 2016 with its tagline “Miles for Millets”, hopes to do its bit to bring the humble millet back to the thaali! Increasing the status of millets locally while making it aspirational (rather than something old people harangue about!) would go a long way in reviving traditional grains and moving towards a more sustainable food system. It is also necessary to publicize that unlike earlier times, all millets can now be processed without tedious manual labour.
Thankfully, in urban India as the quest for healthy food alternatives is increasing, millets are slowly staging a comeback as an alternative to paddy rice and wheat. Yet few are aware of the many different millets available, their nutritional value, the different varieties of each millet, the range of millet based recipes from breads to soups to salads to desserts and, more importantly, where they can source good quality millets from.
The run and the auxiliary events will be tailored to bring these aspects of millets to the fore by highlighting the amazing work being done by our local partners. The run will promote millet cultivation, processing and consumption in tune with boosting the local millet endeavours of both social enterprises and non-profits in the region.