A review by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine concluded that organic food does not have any significant advantage over normal food. However, this holds no water with millions of health conscious people around the globe, including in Nepal, where interest in organic food is growing stronger every other day.
The Organic Village, Baluwater
Well, here’s a question for you all—who do you think is the first to bring organic food into the limelight in Nepal? The answer is Samir Newa. He is the founder of The Organic Village in Baluwatar, Kathmandu. Founded in 2003, The Organic Village’s aim is not only to grow food that is chemical-free, but also to make the public more aware of their benefits. Agencies like UNDP, Winrock International, GTZ, Micro Enterprise Development Program and Small Grants Program have given due support and blessings to The Organic Village.
How does The Organic Village function? Obviously, one of its primary strengths is the local farmers it works with who are provided with a self-sustainable approach to farming as well as markets. It also serves as an information center on organic farming besides being the focal point from where products are sold all over the capital as well as some other cities like Narayanghat and Pokhara.
What products exactly does it sell? Quite a range including rice, lentils, jams, beans, honey as well as different vegetables and fruits and dairy and meat products.
Where are most of the products grown? All together, The Organic Village gets its products from 33 districts of the country, but more so from high up in the mountains like Jumla, Humla and Mustang, where food is apt to contain less fat than those grown in warmer regions.
And, what exactly are its premium products? Jumli Marsi Rice from Jumla (grown at 2,500 meters); Kalo Dal (black lentils) from Rasuwa (grown above 2,000 meters); red rice and yellow rice from Humla; frog meat (called ‘paha’) are some of their prime products. The Organic Village has also begun exporting its products to the United Kingdom, the Unites States, South Africa and Qatar.
Kheti Bazaar, Dilli Bazaar
Speaking of other Nepali organic food companies, one must mention Kheti Bazaar, which is located in Bhojan Griha Restaurant’s premises in Dilli Bazaar, Kathmandu. Although established only just a few years ago, it is already a popular market for organic food lovers, having a diverse range of Nepali organic food. In addition, at Kheti Bazaar there are some products classified as OP, meaning organic-in-process (the grower has stopped using chemical fertilizers for less than three years); O which means Organic (grown for more than three years without chemical fertilizers); and DO means Default Organic (products are from extremely remote places where chemical fertilizers have never been introduced). The most popular products here include vegetables, lentils, white rice, brown rice, coffee, tea, cheese, pesto, fresh spices and dried spices as well as Nepal’s only certified organic apples (grown in Mustang). You can also buy organic croissants and breads every Saturday morning,
Farmers’ Market, Le Sherpa, Pani Pokhari
Another place where you can get organic foodstuff is the Le Sherpa Restaurant on Panipokhari, Kathmandu. This is where a Farmers’ Market is held every Saturday morning (9am-1pm).
A particular specialty of 1905 Restaurant’s market includes several varieties of cheeses inclu
ding François’ Tomme de Savoie (Himalayan French Cheese Company), which he sells along with his hams and patés; Sandra’s range of British cheeses like Caerphilly, Wensleydale, Cheddar and Stilton (Pokhara Cheeses); a Nepali-Swiss joint venture that produces goats’ milk cheese; and ITALIAN
Here, you can also buy Fresh Organic Farm’s large selection of vegetables and fruits as well as bread, pickles and all sorts of goodies.
Himal Farm’s artisan cow’s milk cheeses including fresh-milk mozzarella, smoked cheese, soft-fresh cheese, charcuterie, sausages, boar meat and burger patties. d