Dine at Mother Earth Café


Khweng, a sprawling village near Shillong in Meghalaya has been gifted with a rich and unique array of agrobiodiversity. Its natural wealth was recently ‘discovered’ by the North East Slow Food and Agro-biodiversity Society (NESFAS), which works with local communities to come up with innovative ways of promoting agrobiodiversity and sustainable agricultural practices. 

Kong Plantina, a local restaurant owner, is a proactive member of the community. With the help of NESFAS she began making plans to revamp her food joint into a ‘Mother Earth Café’. The concept of a Mother Earth Café is simple, but effective: it links the production of local biodiversity to the consumption of tasty, unique food. A Mother Earth Café encourages the use of different seed varieties and strengthens local livelihoods by directly sourcing vegetables from nearby farmers.

The food served at the Mother Earth Café at Khweng is unlike any other food in the region. It is fresh from the Khweng fields, cooked and prepared in the local style, and varies with the seasons. To improve on the existing standards, a NESFAS team member who was trained as a chef helped Kong Plantina improve her food presentation, hygiene, and even creativity in terms of use of local ingredients in an effort to glamorize the traditional cuisine. The entire community of Khweng supported Plantina in the weeks before the café’s re-opening. They stood behind her in the belief that it is imperative to create awareness of local food, especially among the younger generation.

On 21 March 2014,  Dr David Molden was asked to officially open the Mother Earth Café. A rope of bamboo, in lieu a ribbon, was tied across the door for him to cut and, following a few words, the café was declared open. A feast of nine different dishes of ‘slow food’ was served to the special guests and community members. The plates were laden with rice, beans, yams, banana flower curry, green vegetables, raw flowers and leaves, and chutney. It was delicious – spicy, crunchy, and bitter – a totally refreshing mix of new and different foods. So, with our hearty recommendation, please visit the Mother Earth Café in Khweng. Read more at http://www.theshillongtimes.com/2012/10/08/state-millet-farmers-tour-south-india/#IGveULABdKUKbv2d.99