#55: Mapping your Sambar, Delivery Dilemmas, Idli Amma & More


COVID-19 has highlighted the inconsistencies in our food supply chains. Yet there are ways in which the system is adapting, and working around all of this to get us food.

We caught up with Urban Design Collective — a collaborative platform for participatory planning to create livable cities — last week to learn more about their work to map out food supply chains in Chennai and Tirunelveli. We then went on to map a virtual sambar by breaking down its ingredients and tracing it back to its origin. Do read more about our meetup and some of the important topics of conversation here.

Knowing where our food comes from is the the first step towards ensuring we understand our food system. When armed with the knowledge of how the system works, we are in a better position to make smarter food choices, thus reclaiming the power from the industrialized system.

Dive into this week’s issue to get your fix of food system news.

Stay curious,
Anusha and Elizabeth

P.S. With the current dynamic situation, stories are rapidly evolving. Please re-check the date of publishing for relevancy before you share an article.
P.P.S. Have had too much of COVID related news? We hear you! Jump straight to the non-COVID part.

Source: Unsplash

Can Agritech Solve The Ever-Evolving Challenges In Agriculture For The Post-Pandemic World?

“In India, it is estimated that at least 200 Mn farmers go to bed on empty stomachs each night due to post-harvest losses.” With the help of scientific warehousing, the post-harvest losses can be reduced to a great extent and can provide an interim solution to the ‘food security problem,’ which is a major social challenge in the country.

Not Just Kirana Tech

Ben Burkett is a fourth-generation farmer in Petal, Mississippi.
Photograph by Edmund D. Fountain for CNN

The pandemic could cause long-term damage to how we get our food

“Many in the industry fear that the disruptions (due to COVID-19) will continue. They worry that patchwork policies on reopening, new waves of coronavirus deaths, and renewed shutdowns will cause further, long-term damage at every link in that chain — from farmers who won’t put seeds in the ground to restaurants, cruise ships and other institutions that won’t serve that produce because they won’t reopen their doors.”

Cracking the Food System


🍃COVID-19 calls for renewed focus on eating right and natural
Down to Earth

Post-COVID-19 pandemic is the right time to seize the opportunity and push policies that promote nutritious and sustainable food systems and value chains and create adequate demand for healthy, nutritious, qualitative and safe food, through consumer behaviour change.

👩‍💻Pests in a pandemic? India’s plant doctors will see you online now
Thomson Reuters Foundation

Mary met “plant doctor” Rajkumar Ramasamy for the first time virtually during an e-clinic earlier this month for farmers from Pudukkottai… Encouraged by the experiences of Mary and Mathiyalagan, the plant doctors now feel virtual clinics could expand their reach tremendously in the future.

🍓For Some Italians, the Future of Work Looks Like the Past
As the coronavirus drastically reorders society and economies, more Italians are returning to the agricultural jobs of their grandparents.

🌽Ease of Farming Index
Tribune India
Like the ease of doing business index, a similar kind of ease of doing farming index might usher in prosperity and propel millions of farm livelihoods into a profitable enterprise, says Devinder Sharma.

Restaurants & dining-out post COVID

A lot has changed since the last time restaurants were open. Since the last time we all went out with friends and family, enjoyed a meal. We bring you 4 different perspectives on how the restaurant industry is looking at re-openings and adapting to the pandemic. 👇


  • India has been snacking more during the times of COVID. Biscuits, snacks and instant noodles may disappear from store shelves again.
  • But store shelves aren’t the only place we’re looking for our favourite fix of snacks are we? No. PepsiCo India partners with Dunzo to deliver food products at consumers’ doorsteps. Yes, this includes your favourite Lays packets.


With Zomato, Swiggy and Dunzo entering the same business verticals, and Rebel Foods also starting out with meal kits (Swiggy is doing them ICYMI, check out Edible #54) will all of them evolve into a clone of each other?

Swiggy, Zomato, Dunzo, and Rebel Foods


Snack or not, locusts are here to wreak havoc. And they have been since January. But with them entering the cities, the world is suddenly waking up to a plague. How does a locust become a plague? Witness this beautiful visual storytelling feat by BBC.

While you’re at it catch a glimpse of these locusts at the dark.


India’s Mother Earth Cafés Shine a Spotlight on Indigenous Crops
As Khasi women like Mujai and Muktieh work tirelessly to bring their tribe’s food to the forefront, in Meghalaya’s West Garo Hills, another Mother Earth café run by Hendri Momin has the same quest

Gabriella D’Cruz: Goa’s Seaweed Queen
A marine conservationist with a Masters in Biodiversity Conservation, Gabriella’s most recent project involves her researching and developing a sustainable aquaculture business involving seaweed!

The Wonder Woman Behind Coimbatore’s ‘1 Rupee Idli’

In a cottage on the city’s outskirts, 85-year-old Kamalathal whips up the country’s most affordable breakfast, attracting both grateful patrons and media spotlight.

International Tea Day: Dipping into Pune’s amruttulya tea-drinking culture
Recognising the contribution of the many small institutions, such as small thelas and hole-in-the-wall teashops, like the amruttulyas of Pune.

How the iconic Doodh Doodh ad changed India’s idea of milk

Doodh, doodh doodh doodh; doodh hai wonderful, pi sakte hain roz glassful; Doodh doodh doodh doodh

Stewed Awakening
In this, the age of the global pantry, ingredients like turmeric, tahini, and gochujang have perhaps given up their “exotic” status. But it is white cooking personalities like Alison Roman and many of the Bon Appétit Test Kitchen stars who have had viral success using them.

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