Monday, January 27, 2014

How safe (or toxic) is the food we grow and eat in Sri Lanka?

Eva Stone, road-side, vegetable stall, Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka
I've been concerned for awhile about reports of toxic food production and what is being distributed and sold to consumers in Sri Lanka. My concerns have heightened in recent months as more discussion has emerged around me over the question of "is there something wrong with the foods we're buying?" - at local markets, at the supermarket, among friends and colleagues, and ayurvedic healers. Even over the weekend I happened to catch one of the chefs in Colombo discussing organic food production and "safe" foods on one of the local television channels. 

I've always been a selective shopper when it comes to buying fresh fruit and vegetables at the supermarket and/or at Sunday pola. I've noticed things about local fruits and vegetables that makes me both curious and concerned about what's happening at the agricultural and farming level of the food production process. For example, why do papayas seem to have less seeds? Or, why are papayas starting to taste less like papayas? Why are some fruits starting to get larger in size than we've ever seen them in the past (like they've been injected with growth serum)? Why are there funny growths on avocados? There's plenty more questions where these came from confused

For a number of years now, I've been reading reports in the local newspapers about the use of pesticides, increased use of fertilizers, concerns over genetic modification in rice, discovery of an epidemic of chronic kidney disease in Sri Lankan farmers and other disturbing facts and figures surrounding agricultural regulation and enforcement (or lack of) and farming practices on the island. I've also had a bit of a dig around the internet to see what else is being reported in various Asian countries. It's more alarming than soothing when you delve deeper into this area, and part of me wonders how serious this issue really is. As I write up my thoughts, I don't yet have the answer to these musings... but, it is certainly a big issue from my perspective. I wonder if it'll be an issue that will ultimately break the camel's back when it comes down to staying or going...

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

An expat in Sri Lanka: the Good, Bad and Ugly - Part 7

Eva Stone photo, FireworksWell it would seem 2014 has kicked off with a loud bang eek... in more ways than one. A small part of me wished for a bit of peace and quiet, but this was never going to be. And you guessed it, there were a few things that got on my goat. So, it's been loud, rambunctious and definitely a memorable start to the year! And so, here I am knocking out my first installment of "An expat in Sri Lanka" for 2014...

There were many options for New Year celebrations in Colombo this year ranging from dinner, dancing, live music, parties on the beach, festive gatherings at home and more. I did a bit of "all of the above" over the New Year's holidays and hit the beach on New Year's Day with the masses. I don't know about you, but it's always good to take a moment to reminisce and reflect on the year just passed and also to contemplate a few New Year's resolutions.

Eva Stone, New Year's Day, Mount Lavinia Beach, Sri LankaI did my reflecting and contemplating on Mount Lavinia beach. I thought it was going to be relaxed and somewhat quiet, but it turned out to be buzzing with locals and some tourists. There was a real festive feel and some beach establishments played music, while families and groups of people either frolicked in the water, played beach cricket or rugby, or played in the sand. I was surprised to see a couple of horses on the beach for children to pay to ride.

This time of year it's pretty calm in the water so it's a good time for a swim. I also like that Mount Lavinia beach now has lifeguards monitoring a stretch of the beach. Lately, I've been frequenting this beach a lot more than I used to - probably because I have a ton of friends who live down this way and I've been hanging out with them over the festive season.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year 2014

Wishing all my blog friends and readers...

Scenes from Mount Lavinia Beach, New Years Day 2014

**~ HAPPY NEW YEAR 2014 ~**