We consume germs and harmful artificial elements every day, without even noticing. As a child, I was always told to wash fruits and vegetables before eating them—to remove the pesticides—and till recently, I believed that a simple rinse under a tap would help wash off all the artificial chemicals.
I’m sure this is what many of us believed till we were informed otherwise, right?
Avilash Mahananda, an alumnus of the Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology in Bhubaneshwar, was deeply affected by this misconception; perhaps much worse than many of us. His mother, a woman who never smoked or consumed alcohol, was diagnosed with cancer and passed away.
When Avilash inquired as to how someone who led a healthy lifestyle could get cancer, the answer he got was that perhaps the pesticides in her food resulted in a long-term buildup of harmful chemicals in her body, which eventually, caused cancer.
That’s when Avilash decided to help more people around him give up foodstuff infused with the harmful chemicals and take up a pesticide-free diet instead.
Avilash, started C&G Agroventures, a company that provides toxin-free vegetables at an affordable price. Speaking to Edex Live, he said, “The vegetables go through a unique three-step process which reduces the chemicals in them by up to 60-90%.”
The first step is ozonization. The vegetables are left to float in a closed chamber, and ozone gas is pumped into the water. This step breaks down the pesticides into harmless compounds. Then, the vegetables are put through an ultrasound signal of a specific frequency. It is after these two steps that the vegetables are washed in water which has a mere 0.001% solution of potassium permanganate.
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“This process not only reduces the pesticide level but also increases the shelf-life of the vegetables,” explains Avilash.
After the vegetables are thoroughly rid of the chemicals, they are packed so as to retain hygiene and carry a barcode sticker on the package. Scanning the barcode will tell you where the vegetables have come from—which village and which farm!
He plans to take these healthy veggies not only to a select few but to the common man. “Unless we provide these vegetables to everyone, there will be no impact. And our mission is to reach out to as many people as possible,” Avilash said.
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In the near future, Avilash even plans to utilize a 20-acre land in Balangir, Odisha as a sustainable farming project. “This space will be a model farm where farmers will come to learn modern techniques which they can implement back in their own farm. If a farmer wants to know how to cultivate pomegranate and has questions like whether drip irrigation will be ideal, they will receive answers here,” he says.
The project certainly seems like a sustainable fight against chemicals in our diet. Starting in Bhubaneshwar, Odisha, maybe the project will reach people in other parts of the country too. After all, who likes harmful chemicals to garnish their balanced meals?
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)