Can a state be completely organic? Well, Sikkim a small state in northeast India, proved that it’s possible when it became the 1st state in India (and the world!) to become 100% organic in 2016.
This success entailed piloting organic farming, launching Sikkim Organic Mission (where farmers were given training in various organic farming practices), and gradually phasing out synthetic pesticides and fertilisers. The transition to organic farming benefited more than 66,000 Sikkimese farming families owning 76,000 ha of farmland. In turn, it promoted sustainable living and tourism.
Organic farming was mostly focused on cultivating large cardamom, ginger, buckwheat, turmeric, and orchid.
If you want to explore organic food in Sikkim, visit its capital Gangtok. You can go for organic farm visits for a first-hand experience or visit a Sikkim Organic Market (special market complexes launched by the government to sell organic products).
ORGANIC FARMS AND TEA GARDEN
Some organic farms are open for visitors. You can get a guided tour that will allow you to see how things are growing. You might even be given the chance to harvest some produce and buy them.
Azing’s Model Farm (Hathidunga, Rinchenpong, West Sikkim)
If the owner is present, you’ll get a guided tour of the farm. Besides fruit trees and vegetables, the farm also practices beekeeping and raising poultry and fish. Make sure to buy their fruit wines. They also have a homestay on the property, so it’s pretty convenient to enjoy the farm over a couple of days.
Azing's Model Farm
Samdur Farm (Samdur, Gangtok, East Sikkim)
From vegetables to dairy products, Samdur Farm has it all. They even sell different types of plants. The farm is not currently open to visitors.
Organic demonstration farm (Bul, South Sikkim)
Visitors are welcome to this farm with open arms. Expect a warm garlanded welcome, music, dance, and a hearty meal prepared with fresh ingredients from their terraced fields that grow potatoes, kale, carrots, leek, garlic, and ginger. Large cardamom is also grown abundantly. Flowers are also grown here and sold.
Temi Tea Garden (Temi, South Sikkim)
This is the only tea garden in Sikkim and produces 100% organic tea. It is open to visitors where you can walk within the gardens, take a guided factory tour, and try as well as buy their tea. Other activities include ziplining and cycling within its grounds. There are also 2 resorts within the gardens you can book for a stay.
Temi Tea Garden
SIKKIM'S ORGANIC MARKETS
A number of organic markets have been established all over the state. Lal Bazaar in Gangtok is a fresh vegetable market. There is a section within it where you can buy organic produce though it is priced a little steeper.
ORGANIC FARMHOUSE STAYS
It’s difficult to get 100% organic food at restaurants and hence, choosing to stay at a farmhouse stay gives you the opportunity to experience the farm-to-table concept.
Some popular farm stays are Yangsum Heritage Farm, Yangsum Chingthang, Bustee Village Farmhouse, and Bon Farm House.
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