Rooting for Tubers - Back to Roots Residency

Hi All,

I am excited to share updates about our first project with Rainmatter Foundation – Rooting For Tubers. Rooting for Tubers is a vibrant celebration of the incredible world of tuber crops. The goal is to spread awareness about tuber crops and brainstorm potential strategies for bringing root & tuber crops into the mainstream.

The first part of this Programme was the Spudnik Farms Residency titled Back to Roots, which took place from January 15th to 18th in the lush landscape of Joida, situated in the Western Ghats. Back to Roots aims to facilitate an exchange of knowledge and ideas around the biodiversity and culinary capabilities of tuber crops.

Why a Residency Program?

Our Residency program is a vital step towards reimagining sustainable and resilient food systems. It’s a dynamic platform that unites the culinary expertise of chefs with the profound insights of local farmer communities. Together, we aspire to push the boundaries of what’s possible in the world of food. Our goal is to create spaces for interdisciplinary learning and foster cultural exchanges that stimulate the food innovation necessary for healthier and more prosperous communities.

Why Tuber Crops

Spudnik Farms views root & tuber vegetables as “foods of the future” due to their climate resilience, adaptability to diverse farming systems and ability to provide sustainable yields under adverse weather conditions. However, despite their significance and immense potential these crops continue to remain under-appreciated, with very little consumer awareness outside their immediate geographical locations.

The Journey

Exploration: The heart of the Residency program lies in the immersive experience of participants spending three days in Joida, where they learn about the vibrant biodiversity and culinary capabilities of tuber varieties

Culinary Documentation & Innovation: The participants use this newfound knowledge and inspiration to find creative ways to shine a spotlight on these lesser-known ingredients.

Ultimately, we want dishes made from tuber crops to feature on urban menus consistently, and for restaurants and researchers to help influence customer perceptions about tuber crops.

The Participants

This year’s Residency comprised 5 Chefs, Mixologists and Food Researchers from Bengaluru:

We were especially proud of having put together a group with a female majority, in a space that can benefit from diversity and inclusion.


The expectation from the participants is to showcase the diverse textures, tastes and culinary possibilities of tuber crops through creative and sustainable dishes and drinks. The researchers will help us document indigenous tuber crops – we feel this is an important activity in creating awareness and identifying opportunities in tuber crops as well as understanding challenges in their widespread adoption.


The Chefs will feature special tuber dishes on their menus for 2 weeks in February 2024 - dishes being considered include Taro Ice Cream, Yam drinks, Sweet Potato cookies etc. The Researchers are writing long form content which will be pitched to publishers.

The Future

These are early days, but we aim to make this residency more extensive, to include more regions/ geographies, partners and produce. We are also working towards creating more long-term partnerships from this Residency. We also hope to build the Residency into a larger initiative that allows people from a culinary arts background to “learn & experiment” with indigenous ingredients and encourage conversations on the socio-economic impact of food production and climate change.

Sharing some pictures from Back to Roots 2024

We will post more updates as the program continues.