Grow local, eat local

Food Issue 139 Jun, 2013
Text by François Driard / Photo: Francois Driard

Producing and growing our own meat, vegetable and cheese encourage not just local production but also better quality and health of the people

A few years ago, walking back home along the wall of Shivapuri, I noticed the appetizing size of the udders of the goat waking ahead of me.

Quickly thinking cheese, I asked the Jyapuni whether she would sell me some milk, “Pap lagcha!” (it’s a sin!) she answered in shock. When asking why and how, she explained to me that goats were bestowed with only two udders and were giving birth to one kid the first pregnancy and then onwards usually to two... so that there was clearly no extra milk for us to drink or cheesemake. Whereas cows do have four udders for one single calf whence pretty well equipped to give us milk!

My dear Jyapu neighbors whose rice chang is so tasty, my dear new Tamang neighbors whose millet rakshi is even stronger, all look at the cheese I have been making for year as the “khuireko khuyeko cheese” (the foreigner’s rotten cheese) because indeed fungus covers its rind and its strong smell repels them while for me it calls for a glass of red wine.

Now when they hear the price we sell our products for, cheeses and meats, their interest starts to rise and soon they start asking if I could sell their production in my markets.

I advocate every countryman I meet to look into agriculture and agro processing with new eyes. I am enraged that we have to import so many lakhs of goats for Dashain! So much Indian and Chinese meat! Can’t we breed them ourselves? It doesn’t need much investment and the steep slopes otherwise unused are perfect for them and plentiful out here. I am thinking grazing here and not cutting, carrying, feeding!

I make cheese so I started breeding pigs to feed them the whey we would throw otherwise. Doing so we spare the rivers from our rennet added byproduct and we breed beautiful pigs who freely roam in a compound until they give us a nice milky meat, so unlike the one of their unhappy cousins bred in cages and fed with broilers viscera and kodoko roxi leftovers.

I advocate for all animals roaming in as a big spaces with shades and swimming pools, for happy animals fed with good locally produced grain.

The markets we organize at 1905, New Orleans or the Summit Hotel, all vow to cater for people who realize the importance of eating cleaner products, chemical free vegetables, meat coming from happier, healthier animals. More and more people are aware that besides better quality, feeding children with organic products builds more resistant, immune people. And that it is worth paying some extra money.
Besides, people also realize that fresh Nepali meat is often better than imported, frozen ones plus people are more aware of their carbon footprints. Imagine the greenhouse gas emitted so that you get your frozen Thai pork chop!

This evolving consciousness and eating behaviors triggers changes in agricultural practices and more and more farms tend towards organic practices. Wine consumption is clearly increasing every year, trout farms seem to never have enough fish for everyone and their finances skyrocket.

Nepali trouts, strawberries, avocados, cider and olive oil are among the improvements that strike me most as we love eating them. I hope that tomorrow we will eat Nepali artichokes, crayfish, turkeys, and why not wine or snails!

Let us work and make Nepal more food self-sufficient and why not also aim at becoming an exporter of quality food products labeled “Naturally Nepal” as a symbol of quality and organicness. Nepal’s lush mountains should feed its crowded neighbors with vegetables, fruits, jams, meats and cheeses and why not bottled chang! That is also how we can be the Switzerland of Asia.