Making alternative Indigenous food markets mainstream

By Aeden Keffelew

Indigenous women from southern India remove wax from honeycomb frames. Photo: Aadhimalai Pazhangudiyinar Producer Company Limited
Farmers work in the Aadhimalai fields within the Niligri Biosphere Reserve. Photo: Aadhimalai Pazhangudiyinar Producer Company Limited
Vanaja is a producer and joint-owner at the Bangalapadi Aadhimalai Centre. Photo: Shrishti Institute of Art and Design

“Aadhimalai is a company for the tribal people here,” says Vanaja, a producer at Bangalapadi Aadhimalai Centre. “We’re all joint owners. Aadhimalai is ours.”

The Aadhimalai Producer Company serves as the decentralized production company for these products in different parts of the reserve. It guarantees its members a fair market price for their products. The company combats previously widespread, unfair practices such as low market prices, incorrect weighing of products, and monopolies from trading retailers outside of the reserve area.

Producers deseed the amla fruit (left), while another packages refined honey in jars (right). Photos: Aadhimalai Pazhangudiyinar Producer Company Limited
Farmers harvest millet within one of the ‘manipulation zones’. Photo: Aadhimalai Pazhangudiyinar Producer Company Limited
Sumithra (left) works at one of the production centres, along with several other women (right) who make up an almost entirely female organization. Photos: Shrishti Institute of Art and Design and Aadhimalai Pazhangudiyinar Producer Company Limited
A farmer works in the fields of the Niligri Biosphere Reserve. Photo: Aadhimalai Pazhangudiyinar Producer Company Limited

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