OCTOBER 2011 MIHISARA .

The food exhibition of the Savisthri Movement in it's food programme that was implemented to coincide with the World Food Day - 16th October 2008.

The Savisthri Movement Launched a food exhibition in eight (08). Districts of Sri Lanka viz Galle, Matara, Moneragala, Matale, Anuradhapura, NuwaraEliya, Kegalle and Kurunagala in the months of October and November 2008 to coincide with the World Food Day.

Kegalle District on 10th October 2008.

This programme was organized by the members of the co-operative women's organization which is a member organization of the Womens Action for Social Justice (WASJ). Approximately sixty people participated at the exhibition and children from 3 schools . At the exhibition more priority was given to make the people aware of the usage of various kinds of yams to solve the prevailing food crisis.

Anuradhapura District on 17th October 2008.

This was organized by the Savisthri District Collective, Anuradhapura. Approximately 350 persons participated. The field co-ordinator of Anuradhapura District, a doctor of indigenous medicine made a reference to the existing global food crisis and encouraged people to grow their own food in their gardens free of chemicals and consume nourishing food avoiding any poisonous stuff. A drama was staged with the participation of Savisthri community members highlighting the value of home grown food. There were nearly 200 different varieties of vegetables. fruits and medicinal plants.

Matale District on 2008.10.22, 23

Approximately 100 participated including school children, invitees, local government officers, Grama Niladharis and members of the Savisthri National Movement. There was an exhibition and sale of palatable cooked food. An awareness was given to those assembled that the produce viz vegetables, fruits, cereals and yams were all nutritious and free from any chemicals as only organic fertilizer had been used for their cultivation. Two members from the Pradeshiya Sabha (local government institution) and the Grama Niladhari of the area were so taken up with the food exhibition they expressed their satisfaction regarding the work that is being implemented in the area by the Savisthri Movement.

Galle District - 2008.10.26.
Approximately 350-400 participated including Savisthri members in the Galle District, youth, school children and the fishing community. There were cereals, green leaves various dishes turned out of fish (Ambul Thiyal, Jaadi etc), traditional sweet – meat prepared from locally grown rice, various kinds of cunjee prepared from a variety of herbs, a variety of yams both cooked and uncooked, indigenous medicinal plants were all kept on display, which attracted the participants.

Lecturer were given to apprise the people of the prevailing food crises, dangers of consuming food items grown utilizing chemicals and weedicides, health problems, environmental changes and reasons for such changes and how they should be avoided which were highly appreciated by the people.

Moneragala District

This food programme was held in the Moneragla District on 2008.10.30. Amongst the participants were Savisthri members in the area, those well versed in food production, members of government and non-governmental organizations and ordinary people.

A variety of cereals and food items grown in chenas, various drinks made out of herbs, cow's milk, packeted seeds collected from plants grown utilizing organic manure and plants including herbs were kept on display.

In addition to food items which were of nutritious value and grown in their home-gardens, there were handicraft too such as bags and boxes made out of reed.

There were four food stalls where various kinds of cooked rice and delicious curries made out of home grown vegetables, yams, Jaadi and mush-rooms were kept on display, cunjee made out of different kinds of herbs and palatable dishes made out of cereals and fruit and vegetable plants too were kept for sale which were sold at very cheap rates.

Matara District

This food exhibition was held at the Dondra esplanade Matara District on 03.11.2008 .

Approximately 1000 people, members of the youth groups, invitees and several others participated.

This programme included an alternate food exhibition, a display of plants both vegetables and fruits grown in the home gardens utilizing organic manure, various kinds of yams, a variety of cunjee made out of green leaves and cereals. Awareness programmes regarding global warming, special awareness programmes conducted by resource persons, and there was a brisk sale of local food cooked and uncooked and various palatable dishes were on display.

There were altogether five (05) stalls. These stalls displayed local food used by the Sinhala Buddhists, Muslims and Hindu communities to celebrate their cultural festivals. There were various traditional sweet-meats prepared out of home grown cereals like rice, millet and these constituted of oil cakes, kokis etc. which are normally prepared for the Sinhala New Year. Likwise traditional dishes had been turned out of locally grown cereals which are normally seen on the festive occasions of the Hindus and Muslims.

There were several decoctions made out of fruits like avocado, melon and cunjee turned out of various kinds of herbs which are freely available in the home gardens.

In addition those participated were given an awareness regarding the preparation and nutritious value of such foods and cunjee.

An awareness had been given regarding rice, our staple food and the preparation of various kinds of dishes turned out of rice viz Milk rice, coconut rice, green gram rice and their nutritious value. Added to all these, there were sweet potatoes etc which had been displayed raw as well as cooked, fish, Jaadi (preserved fish) and Maldive fish all turned of out of Tuna Fish for display and sale.

In a separate stall, there were posters depicting the global warmth, which gave an awareness regarding the climate change and it's repercussions.

The successes of this programme include.

- The reduction in the usage of polythene by 90%.
- Availability of food in abundance.
- Several awareness programmes conducted
- Contribution made by the women to make the programme a success.

As for the failures less participation inspite of the fact that it is a heavily populated area. Dumping of several products and items in a small space and less attention paid to educational posters could be cited.

It became very clear of the importance of holding such exhibitions in those areas.

Kurunegala District

The food exhibition organized by the Savisthri Movement was held in Kurunegala on 11.11.2008 in the Vahara village in the Kurunegala District. There were 65 participants in all including 50 members from the villages, 01 priest , school teachers, a doctor of Indegeneious Medicine and members of the Rural Development Society. One teacher who was present extolled the importance of holding such exhibitions and assured that in future he would liaise the school with such activities.

There was an exhibition of posters prepared by the Savisthri Movement depicting the ill effects of consuming fruits, vegetables and cereals grown utilizing chemicals and the benefits by using food items grown utilizing organic fertilizer. An awareness was given regarding the nutritious value of home grown food items freely available in the home garden.

NuwaraEliya District

The food exhibition was held at the school premises Queensbury Estate, NuwaraEliya District on 12.11.2008 from 1000 hrs – 1330 hrs.
Approximately 300 individuals participated including the Principal, Queensbury estate school, school children, Estate Superintendent and employees in the estate.

The food exhibition commenced with a drama staged by the school children. The aim of the food exhibition "We could prepare a nutritions meal without any poisonous stuff" was explained to those assembled.

There were various kinds of fruits, vegetables and yams on display which were grown by utilizing only organic fertilizer. Boilled Manioc and other yams were kept on display which had a brisk sale. Since the villagers used to purchase food and their daily needs by paying exorbitant sums of money a request was made for them to grow yams in their gardens using organic fertilizer to enable them to have a wholesome meal devoid of any poisons.

On the whole this was a success. Although not hundred percent successful the participants highly appreciated the efforts made by the Savisthri National Enterprise to create an awareness amongst the people of the value of consuming home grown food utilizing organic fertilizer which is of a highly nutritious value. Even the principals of schools highly commended the effort and assured that they would liaise school children in our future programmes. The various requests made by school principals, temple priests and villagers to hold this exhibition in their premises vouch for the success of this programme. Furthermore:-

· The principals of several schools have prohibited the sale of cooked items made out of imported flour in the school kiosks and have requested the children to bring cooked meals from home and to refrain –from using polithene and plastic bottles, which result in environmental pollution.
· Principals have initiated action to have home gardens in their school premises.

· Parents of school children have requested assistance from the Savisthri Movement for the commencement of home gardens.

· Schools have initiated action to provide a cup of cunjee made out of herbs to each child twice a week.

· State institutions like the Police have called for a discussion regarding food devoid of poisonous stuff.

· Discussions held to show this exhibition in other Districts as well.

· At the exhibition held, the trade stalls where alternate produce were displayed and sold had a high attraction and requests made to have such stalls in their areas as well.

· In most of the Districts action has already been taken to inaugurate weekly Sathipolas (trade outlets) to sell vegetables, fruits, green leaves, cereals grown utilizing organic fertilizer.

· At the end of each exhibition in the eight Districts action had been taken to collect signatures of the participants to the public petition organized in co-ordination with the public activity for the settlement of the food crisis, thereby collecting approximately 4000 signatures to the petition.