Why isn’t everyone running out to get millets to eat them? Jola.” Of the lot, I recognize only ragi, and I ask them curiously what game they are playing.
India remains the largest consumer of millets worldwide, but we have increasingly produced less – since the Green Revolution, over 44% of millet cultivation areas are now occupied by monoculture crops, mainly paddy rice and wheat.
Foxtail millet (navana), pearl millet (sajje), finger millet (ragi), little millet (saave), proso (baragy), rajgeera (grain amaranthus), barnyard millet (oodulu), orghum (jowar) – the names sound very exotic.
Kalyani from Earth 360 is busy preparing a Foxtail-millet Puliogare, while Suma hands out mixed-millet laadoos to everyone who is standing around, eagerly watching.
In spite of not being a big fan of sweets, The food stall is a revelation!
His mother Srivalli, standing close by, adds, “We grew up with all these millets being an integral part of our food and lifestyle, but now my children don’t even get to hear of them.
When I heard about this Millet Mela, I saw it as a golden opportunity for my kids to learn and for me to reconnect with the wonder of these grains.
They are hardy crops that thrive in very hot and dry climates, even in poorly fertilized soil.
In traditional farming practices, millets are cultivated alongside other crops like pulses and oilseeds, making the process holistic.
Dinesh laughs and says, “When we were younger, I used to call each of my family members with different names – dodappa, chikkamma, athae etc.
But children now call all older relatives ‘Uncle’ and ‘Aunty’.
As I savour each bite, I think of the changes I am going to adapt in my own kitchen.