Friday, July 29, 2016

The Mahua Yatra comes to Native Place

A while ago i was talking to my friend Samiksha Agarwal who lives in the buffer zone of the Kanha National Park and she mentioned to me that she had a visitor over who was on a trip around the country visiting places where mahua grew, interacting with the local people sharing recipes on cooking mahua flowers and fruit in an attempt to revive the wild food foraging habits that are fast dwindling.

I was instantly intrigued -  Mahua is one of my favourite trees and although i was aware that alcohol was distilled from the flower  and until not long ago the villagers collected the seeds and expressed oil to use for cooking purposes,   I was not aware of it being used as food in our area.

A series of coincidences led to Aparna visiting us and putting Native Place and Kamshet on the Mahua Yatra Map  - but that’s a long story.

What I’d like to share with you here is that  we discovered that in one village in our area the tradition of  storing the fruit and eating it as a vegetable still persisted albeit by a few.

We had a wonderful two days of sharing recipes – Aparna introduced us to the art of cooking with Mahua and guided by Pasaba we showed her a few wild edible traditions in our area.

A wonderful time it was! The beginning of new food traditions,  a celebration of the forests and the abundance of nature.

The Mahua Yatra travels through 10 states  interacting  with farmers and tribal communities to learn and share and celebrate Mahua (Madhuca longifolia),the tree of life.

For more info on the Mahua tree click here 
For more pictures check out this the Native Place facebook album

Astrid Rao