The Indian Food Manifesto


THE INDIAN FOOD MANIFESTO: Working Towards A Sustainable Food Culture

Declaration adopted by the Delegates to the Tasting India: Farm to Table Symposium
The Park New Delhi * 15 December 2017

  • To recognise the immutability of the web that binds humankind to our ecosystem and the biodiversity that we consider to be our common inheritance.
  • To recognise the inalienable right of every citizen of this planet to have continuous access to nutritious food with no traces of fertiliser and pesticide residues, or chemical additives.
  • To recognise the need of nations to return to the practice of eating traditional produce grown locally in the designated seasons.
  • To recognise the small-holder farmers, who are the custodians of nature and feed the world, yet do not have their own food security.
  • To reiterate the inescapable duty of the travel, tourism, hospitality and food production sectors to contribute their mite to the growing international movement for sustainable planet friendly practices as enunciated in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

We, the delegates to the Tasting India Symposium, hereby resolve that:

(1) CREATE A SMART FOOD NETWORK. We will work towards creating a national alliance of hotel and restaurant owners, chefs, hotel management institutes, food producers and marketers, public advocacy groups, tour operators and students to promote the values of smart eating based on food that is good for us, good for the planet and good the farmer.

(2) SUPPORT TRADITIONAL PRODUCE. We will act in concert with all the stakeholders in the travel, tourism, hospitality and food production sectors to promote traditional produce and create a market for them nationally in hotels, restaurants and homes across the country.

(3) RAISE AWARENESS ABOUT INDIA’S FOOD TRADITIONS: We will work unceasingly, and in concert with the government and other public initiatives, to create awareness among consumers, especially children, both against food that is inimical to a higher quality of life and the planet, and in favour of a healthy, balanced diet not dictated by any current fad. … continued

(4) ADVOCACY FOR TRADITIONAL FARMERS: We will provide traditional farmers a public advocacy platform so that they can reach out to a larger public and the decision-makers in the government, and be heard above the din of the publicity machine of big food, fertiliser and pesticide corporations.

(5) ACCELERATE GASTRONOMIC TOURISM: We will steer a national initiative to introduce global opinion-makers to the power of Indian gastronomy and give gastronomic tourism the thrust it requires to arrive on the scene as a tourist footfall driver and creator of new employment avenues, especially for women (in business, as entrepreneurs, at home and B&B operators).

(6) PROMOTE EXPERIENCE TRAILS: We will promote, through international food influencers and tour operators, established restaurants, old and new culinary trails, and spice routes to attract a new category of high-spending international tourists.

(7) POPULARISE PRINCIPLES OF AYURVEDA: We will work together with other stakeholders to delve into the principles of Ayurveda and its potential contributions to humanity’s search for sustainable food production and consumption, without over-romanticising it or turning it into an exotic attraction.

(8) PROMOTE A SUSTAINBLE FOOD CULTURE: We will strive together to connect the international vegetarian movement with its peers in India to popularise the Indian vegetarian diet as one of the sustainable options to reduce the planet’s carbon footprint and the use of water in dry lands.

(9) REVIVE INDIA’S HERITAGE FOODS. We will continually showcase India’s ‘lost foods’, which are produced by the poorest of the poor using sustainable agricultural practices, so that they find a market that could, in turn, open up new wealth-generation opportunities for our marginal and poor farmers.

(10) CREATE ROBUST CERTIFICATION FRAMEWORKS. We will put systems in place to set in motion (a) the celebration of a Global Indian Food Day, and (b) an internationally accepted certification process to guarantee the authenticity of Indian food served in restaurants around the world.

We, the delegates to the Tasting India Symposium, further resolve that this resolution be circulated among all our partners and supporters for their insights and inputs, as well as follow-up programmes of action, so that it becomes the voice of all citizens wedded to the idea of seasonal, locally sourced food for a sustainable India.