A scientific and citizen annual event to enlight - Initiatives around food

Workshop and citizen food festival

February 3-9, 2021

Objectives of this annual scientific and festive event

The objective is to introduce a discussion on the concept of “local food systems”. How can it apply to Pondicherry, at the local scale, and make sense for a diversity of actors? By planning this event every year in end of January (for Pongal), we wish to put this question on the political agenda.

We propose to take on the challenge of how we can create a collaborative network that integrates sustainable food production, processing, distribution, and consumption in order to enhance environmental, economic, and social health in the particular context of Pondicherry. This platform should permitcollectively thinking, discussing and suggesting specific actions on what arethe ‘food priorities’ of the Pondicherry communities?

The concepts we discuss are those of local food system, food sovereignty, social and environmental justice and agroecology, including through a gender lens. Agroecology questions the dominant and interdependent global agricultural and food models and their socio-economic and environmental consequences. Agroecology sustains autonomy via appropriate techniques and social interactions (technologies called "social", exchange of seeds, consumer groups, direct sales, etc.) on the basis of a renewed relationship with "nature" (agricultural diversification, respect for natural cycles and ecosystems).

The objectives are : i) to organize scientific debates on food including all the food chain from production to consumption and waste management according to a food system approach, ii) to organize discussion with the public policy stakeholders, iii) to collect, with the society, scientific and citizen data on the practices and food heritage of the different communities in Pondicherry and its region; iv) to promote awareness of the population on food issues (social and power relationship along the entire food chain: implementing an inclusive food system, in a reflection on local food democracy); v) education on food (and tastes); vi) to create a festive moment to share emotion around food.

This scientific and citizen week organisation is a testimony of the involvement of the local society to think of and show the diversity of the food heritage of the culinary communities of the Pondicherry Territory and the close Tamil Nadu region. In this sense, it is an opportunity to think about an educational project open to the city and to build it with a certain number of stakeholders from the city who wish to stage elements of daily food life: to show and tell what is important to them in the links between food/plant and animal, wild and domestic/ Tamil culture biodiversity.


A co-organized initiative of academic institutions and social movement

- Scientific institutions

In India

French Institute of Pondicherry: Venkatasubramanian andGuétat-Bernard (with the collaboration of the Social sciences department: Kannan and Prakash (literature and culture), associated researchers : Frédéric Landy, Brigitte Sébastia, Indhubala PhD student and theecology department Balachandran, Anupama, Prasad, Lazar PhD student ; Photographer : Rameshkumar)

Collaboration with :

Humanities across borders (Leiden University Netherlands : Aarthi Kalwar (associated researcher from MIDS, Madras), Surajit Sarkar andDharitri Narzary Chakravartty (from Ambedkar University, Delhi (AUD), School of Liberal Studies)

University of Pondicherry : 4 departments (literature and French studies – Ritu Tyagi), social work (Nalini Ranganathan), women studies (Aruna Chinnappan), food studies (Prathap Shetti)

IIT Madras : John Bosco Lourdusamy and Mathangi Krishnamurthy from the department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Dr Kanagarathnam, postdoctoral student

In France

Institut européen d’histoire et des cultures de l’alimentation, IEHCA, Tours (Olivier Rollin)

Réseau Agriville : Camille Dumas

Unesco Food chair: Nicolas Bricas

- The citizen’s movement on Local food of Pondicherry,

Jointly with Fair Trade twin Towns and Social Entrepreneurship Association (Venkalp Sangam), Save Farmers, Uzhuduunsundar (vegetable seeds bank), INDP

Restaurants : Maiyam-past food restaurantVijhay Ganesh M, Sylvain Paquery restaurant Villa Shanti, M. Amarnath K. restaurants Surguru

PondiCan, Pondicherry, Heritage festival organizer

Gardeners : Deepika Kundaji and Bernard from Peeble garden, Auroville, who are protecting one of the largest collections of vegetable seeds in India (cf. Reviving vegetable diversity, Sahaja Media, Bangalore, 2015).

- In collaboration with : the Agriculture Department of Pondicherry and the Tourism Department of Pondicherry

- National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD)

Click here to download to Programme Details

Click here to download the Poster

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Events - Photo Collection