Hello all! Let me start by saying I’m really excited to be a part of this Grove community!
My name is Thomas Zacharias and I’m the Chef and Founder of The Locavore. While I’ve spent the better part of my life cooking professionally (I was the head chef founding partner of The Bombay Canteen, O Pedro and Bombay Sweet Shop in Mumbai, a company I was a part of for 6.5 years before I left completely in December 2020), my culinary travels across India have made me aware of the stark disconnects between what we eat and where it comes from, who grows it, what goes into it, and all the people, stories and challenges in between. All of this and more led me to launch The Locavore in April 2022.
At its heart, The Locavore is a social impact platform that is trying to build a local food movement in India through storytelling, partnerships, collaborations, events, projects and more. You can find more about us here.
As you all probably know by now, 2023 has been recognised as the International Year of Millets (IYOM) by the United Nations based on a proposal by the Indian government. Now millets are relevant to the climate change conversation for many reasons-- they are climate smart, require very little water to grow, can grow in arid climates, do not need a lot of soil nutrition or care, and are extremely resilient in adverse climatic conditions. Couple that with the fact that they are highly nutritious and you have yourselves a silent winner, a gold mine of an ingredient category which is hardly explored by modern Indians. As a chef, what excites me particularly is that millets are also very versatile as an ingredient (think soups, salads, stir fries, pulaos, stews, desserts the works!) and can be really delicious if prepared right. But millets have largely been forgotten from our plates and diets, and replaced by just a few varieties of rice and wheat which are extremely resource intensive.
Which brings me to the Millet Revival Project. As of this year, The Locavore in association with the Rainmatter Foundation is taking on the ambitious task of getting millets back into everyone’s minds and plates through the Millet Revival Project 2023. We have a lot planned already and we’ve kickstarted our efforts, which you can read more about here.
Looking forward to this exciting project, and potentially bringing some (or all) of you into the conversation too!