One of the world’s largest free kitchens that serves food to 100,000 people a day is switching to organic.
Guru Ramdas Langar Hall at Sri Harmandir Sahib, otherwise known as the Golden Temple, is among the world’s largest community kitchens. The Golden Temple, located in the western Indian city of Amritsar, provides a hot meal to anyone who walks through their doors regardless of case, creed or religion.
According to NDTV, the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) made the decision to practice organic farming and do away with the use of chemical pesticides, herbicides and fertilisers. The committee administers the gurdwaras, the place of worship for Sikhs, across the country and will be adopting practices such as crop rotation, using organic fertilisers and plant-based pesticides and herbicides.
An SGPC official released a statement that read:
“Organic farming is the new mission of SGPC to inspire farmers to cut down on the use of chemicals and pesticides and switch to sustainable agricultural practices.”
Foods such as grains, fruits, carrots, cauliflower, fenugreek and spinach that are used to prepare vegetarian meals are being grown at farms near Amritsar and being delivered every one to two days at the Golden Temple.
Dr Rajwant Singh, the founder and president of EcoSikh, an environmental nonprofit, hopes the other 25,000 gurdwaras in Punjab will emulate the practices adopted by the Golden Temple. He said:
“We need to respect the natural resources… the gifts given by our creator. Just imagine, if all the gurdwaras, temples and mosques switch to organic food in consumption and distribution — the farmers will then see that there’s set market and they can start producing food for which they will not have to use chemicals and pesticides.”
The food kitchen, referred to as langar in Punjabi, was a concept started centuries ago by the founder of Sikh religion, Guru Nanak. The Golden Temple feeds people 24 hours a day and seven days a week for free.