350-kg 'Bharta' to Oppose Bt Brinjal

New Delhi, Sep 6 (IANS): It what was billed as the world's biggest campaign against genetically-modified food, Greenpeace activists here Tuesday helped prepare 350 kg of organic 'baingan ka bharta' -- one of India's most popular eggplant curry.

The activists pooled in 200 kg of brinjals and 300 kg of spices and ingredients like tomatoes, onions and green chillies.

It was the world's biggest organic 'baingan ka bharta' - the mashed and char-broiled brinjal dish - ever cooked in protest against BT brinjal and genetically modified food.

The cook-in campaign was certified by the Limca Book of Records on the spot.

Last year, the government had made an abortive attempt to approve BT brinjal in the country. Public outcry and a debate stalled the move.

The cook-in, supported by 800 chefs from the Culinary Forum of India and the Organic Farming Association of India, was part of a campaign by 100,000 citizens across the country against the new Bio-technology Regulatory Authority of India (BRAI) Bill 2011, which seeks to approve genetically modified food selectively.

The protesters contended that the autonomous regulatory authority under the BRAI to approve genetically-modified food should not be housed under the ministry of science and technology because the ministry has a mandate to promote bio-technology.

"If BRAI is housed under the ministry, the mandate becomes questionable," Rajesh Krishnan, campaign manager of the sustainable agriculture wing of Greenpeace, told IANS.

The venue of the great kitchen was the Dilli Haat in south Delhi. A battery of chefs from Le Meridien, led by executive chef Davinder Kumar, demonstrated to a gathering of hundreds of people the making of the dish as they stirred gigantic amounts with organic spices in a vat with char-broiled brinjals.

The message was -- eat organic for a healthy immune system.

The initiative was also meant to promote organic food, and ensuring that India grows enough non-toxic fresh food to feed its 1.2 billion people at an affordable price.

Organic vegetables and grains cook faster, said organic farmer and food activist Jayashree Joshi Eashwar, the owner of Dubdengreen Organic Food Store at Dilli Haat.

Eashwar, who owns an organic farm near Bangalore, said: "Organic farming saves on water resources because genetically modified food grown with the help of chemicals requires a farmer to flood his land to offset the effects of the chemicals, which react with the sun."

The ethnic bazaar -- that sells handicrafts from all over the country -- was redolent with the aroma of the 'bharta'.

The cook-in was capped by a modest feast of piping hot organic 'chapatis' (bread) and 'baingan ka bharta' for all those present.



Title : 350-kg 'Bharta' to Oppose Bt Brinjal


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