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‘Seva Truck’ Of Sikh-Americans Provide Free Food To Local Communities

Seva Truck is a fully licensed food truck with a commercially integrated kitchen

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Seva Truck sends out free food
Seva Truck Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to reducing hunger in our communities by serving hot, nutritious meals to anyone in need. (Representational Image). Pixabay

A Sikh-American from Washington D.C. is operating a ‘Seva Truck’, via which he sends out free meals to local communities in need including schools and social work organisations.

Washington D.C.-based Sonny Kakar bought an old FedEx truck, painted it orange and began operating his ‘Seva Truck’, the American Bazaar reported on Friday.

His initiative specially targets kids at risk in underserved communities. In just three years since its inception, the orange truck has not only become the pride of the area but has also expanded to feed over 20,000 people.

Showing his compassionate side, Kakar believed that there was need for such an initiative when he started it, but “we hope that ‘we are out of business’ in the future”.

Seva Truck Free meal food Truck
Through our Free Meal Service campaign, we serve nutritionally-balanced vegetarian meals when and wherever needed.(Representational Image). Pixabay

“We hope there won’t be a need for a Seva Truck because we hope that society reaches a stage where they do not think about serving themselves but serving the broader purpose.”

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In one of the schools where the truck has been regularly dropping off meals since last three years, the attendance has gone up by 30 per cent, Kakar said.

Encouraged by the success Kakar opened another location in Michigan and hopes to spread his initiative across the country. (IANS)

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My Menu: Redefine Your Online Food Ordering Process

Here's a new way to order food online with 'My Menu'

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'My Menu' -- an International digital menu company on which a restaurant can take care of all its digital menu needs. Pixabay

By Puja Gupta

Tablet menu or digital menu has been around for over 10 years, but they never became popular, why? Unfortunately until two years ago, every digital app/product was not design oriented and all it did was just show plain pictures of the food. Today, it’s not only about showcasing pictures, but also a beautifully designed and printed menu can do a much better job than any app.

‘My Menu’ — an International digital menu company currently live in over 1,600 restaurants across countries in over 142 languages – is all-in-one platform on which a restaurant can take care of all its digital menu needs – tablet menu, QR menu, QR ordering and online ordering. It recently announced a complimentary QR ordering solution to restaurants worldwide.

As restaurants are preparing to open across the country from June 8, ‘My Menu’ helps tackle dining the post COVID-19 era to prepare the industry for the socio-economic changes that make ‘contactless’ service the new normal.

The QR Ordering system allows guests a complete contactless, self-ordering system, table service to communicate with the wait staff. Its online ordering and restaurant delivery module can interface with any restaurant POS thus making it the perfect add on module for restaurants to start accepting orders directly and avoid paying hefty commissions to third party aggregators/delivery portals.

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A beautifully designed and printed menu can do a much better job than any app. Pixabay

“Our objective remains the same from the time we started conceptualizing the product — to increase the average check value and guest satisfaction. As a by-product, we also see increase in efficiency and reduction of operational costs. We have multiple case studies which show that restaurants see an immediate increase in the average check value of 25 – 30 per cent,” says My Menu CEO Abhishek Bose.

Also Read: 60% Decrease in Pediatric Fractures During Pandemic: Study

He adds: “We have also announced a complimentary QR ordering solution to restaurants worldwide for tackling the post COVID-19 era to prepare the industry for upcoming socio-economic changes post the pandemic. In order to contain the single most reusable and essential item ‘food menu’, digitalized menus supported by QR code is a strategic solution that will prove to be successful for active prevention.”

My Menu has been made a corporate standard by Accor hotels and Bose hopes other hotel chains will follow soon. It is already being used across popular restaurant chains such as Nandos, Wagamama, Carluccio’s, he informs. “Being a self-managed product we have seen a lot more uptake from countries where hoteliers/restauranteurs are considerably more IT savvy,” he concludes. (IANS)

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Back to the Soil With Organic Farming

Here's the story of various people who have returned back to their soil, organically

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Many professionals have returned back to their soil. PIxabay

By Sukant Deepak

A banker from Canada, a resort director, a top executive in a leading IT company and a senior corporate communications professional with a major hospital chain. Defying all stereotypes and preconceived notions of farmhands, an increasing number of highly qualified professionals from both genders are quitting their lucrative professions and getting back to the soil in Punjab full-time,making responsible farming their way of life.

Using social media including WhatsApp to spread the word, participating in pop-up organic farmers’ markets across the region and organising day-long farm tours, these new-age farmers, compost kit makers and teachers are ascertaining that those wanting pesticide-free food grains don’t have to look too hard.

Rahul Sharma’s wife would always laugh when on a typical IT sprint meeting call, he would be discussing his project at Flipkart, and a few hours later, talking about manure collection with a farmer.

This organic farmer who now grows cereal grains, pulses, oil seeds, turmeric and garlic at his five acre farm in Kapurthala full time, insists that the ongoing lockdown has made people aware about the importance of growing their own food, and that too pesticide-free. “But yes, if the government is serious about providing nutritional security, then it must ascertain economic benefits to farmers so they can go in for sustainable agriculture,” he stresses.

For someone who started doing organic farming in 2016, the thrill that comes with growing safe food for others is unparalled.”The fact that there is a patch of land which is now free of poison, where life thrives, and that I am contributing towards healthy soil.”

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Rahul Sharma now grows cereal grains, pulses, oil seeds, turmeric and garlic at his five acre farm in Kapurthala full time. Pixabay

Not regretting his switch from a corporate IT job, which never allowed him to pursue his passions like photography, Sharma has now decided to streamline production and ordering process. “I have now a set rotation of crops which provide nutrition to the soil, as well as work well in the consumer market. I am also working on an online platform to make it easier for my consumers to order grains and be in touch with me,” he adds. He also lectures and interacts with school and college students at his farm about the importance of sustainable agriculture/lifestyle.

Shivraj Bhullar, who has a four-acre farm in Manimajra and grows a variety of seasonal vegetables, leafy greens and fruits left his cushy banker job in Canada to start organic farming on his piece of land in 2014 post volunteering at different farms across India to learn the ropes. “The organic farming convention that was held in the region in 2015 brought a lot of people together. Since then, the movement has been growing with greater awareness amongst consumers in this part of the country,” he says. For someone who has always been interested in Yoga and nutrition, one of the major factors that keeps him excited is the community around the organic farming movement in Punjab. “Farmers go out of their way to help each other out. It’s been a humbling and continuous learning experience for me,” he adds.

Planning to take his farm to the next level by installing a drip irrigation system and rain water harvesting for water conservation, Bhullar is all set to buy more animals so as to decrease his dependence on outside sources for manure.

Coordinator of the Chandigarh Farmers’ Market, Seema Jolly, who owns a five-acre farm in village Karoran in Punjab and grows vegetables,fruit, grains, oilseeds and pulses wants her farm to be a school for organic/natural farming, yoga and Ayurveda in the near future. One of the directors of the Baikunth Resorts Pvt Ltd, Jolly started organic farming in 2011 and there has been no looking back since then. “There is a certain joy in knowing that what you supply is not harming the consumer in any way,” she says. Instrumental in organising trips for school children to different farmers across Punjab and Himachal Pradesh, Jolly also helps small organic farmers with logistics and selling their produce. “The organic farmers market initiative, in July 2015 was a landmark in bringing relief to the marketing problems of organic farmers and encouraging more farmers to turn organic. Frankly, what is needed is small markets like these in all districts. It may take time, but people are bound to tilt towards organic if there is easy availability.”

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There are many people who own farms including Former National level hockey player Mohanjit Dhaliwal who has two farms. Pixabay

Former National level hockey player Mohanjit Dhaliwal who has two farms — one if Ropar and another in Fathegrah Sahib, the latter being part of permaculture food forest in ‘Sanjhi Mitti Food Forest Community’, has been involved in organic farmer for more than 10 years now. Talking about the roadblocks when it comes to shifting to organic, he feels, that the government’s policy of 100 per cent wheat paddy procurement has to change. “Farmers, who used to be entrepreneurs and solutions finders are now behaving like robots.Nothing is going to change unless policy makers get out of whole process.”

Besides holding regular workshops on permaculture which is attended by people from around the country, Dhaliwal, who is working on a forest therapy centre, adds, ” Our Eco library at the farm where anyone can read or borrow books on related subjects is quite a hit with both children and adults.”

Chandigarh-based Jyoti Arora, who supplies odour-free composters in Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Chandigarh to houses, hotels, institutions, municipalities, and engages with Swachh Bharat teams of different municipalities, says, “I also do a lot of lecture demonstrations to sensitise people and encourage people to go green. In fact, my farming is a by product of the compost generated from my domestic waste in which the produce comes solely out of the compost.”

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Everything changed for Diksha Suri, a former corporate communications head with a major hospital chain when she spent time at Auroville in 2004. “Being there and learning from experts started a journey of a more conscious approach towards the living greens and browns. I attended formal workshops and started experimenting an organic way of living,” says Suri, who, along with a friend set up Chandigarh’s first Nature Club in 2012.

From organising organic farm visits, forest walks and fossil sites for children and their parents, Suri says that she has been able to make hundreds of children conscious about what they eat. “A lot of them are now at ease with composting, growing vegetables, identifying birds, and more than anything, being in sync with nature. We now regularly hold talks and workshops on organic farming, composting, waste management, across schools, colleges and corporate offices in the region.”

Chandigarh-based Rishi Miranshah, who has made the nine-part docu-series ‘The Story of Food – A No Fresh Carbon Footprint’ which is available to watch online on Films for Action website and YouTube says, “Considering what chemicals have been doing to our food and the need to switch to organic, it was important for me to make this documentary which is an investigation, tracing the trail of devastations bringing us to the point where we are today. Food being the thread that connects us to life; and the way we obtain our food being that connects us to a way of life, the movie begins by examining our agri-culture, our very relationship with the land.” (IANS)

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Keep Your Nutrition and Overall Health Goals Spot On During Lockdown

Here's how you can meet your health goals while at home

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Keeping a check on nutrition can be tough during lockdown. Pixabay

By Aditi Roy

“Work from Home” during quarantine has changed our lifestyles; keeping a check on nutrition can be tough when our home is our office. A few Diet Tips can be helpful during this time.

Unlike at the office, here we have plenty of packed food in the refrigerator all to ourself and enough time to graze. We could be working long hours without having eaten a thing and then accidentally reaching out for an entire packet of chips.

However, this can not only sabotage immunity but also distort our waistline. While we have plenty of time to focus on our hobbies and going by the trend, for most of us it seems to be cooking, baking and filling our stomach with easy & unhealthy food. However, it is also important to break these habits and switch to something healthier.

Let’s see how a small switch can bring us back on track? Here are some tips shared by By Kimaye Health- INI Farms to keep your nutrition and overall health goals spot on.

refrigerator-nutrition
We have plenty of packed food in the refrigerator all to ourself during the lockdown. pixabay

Ditch the noodles

Did you skip breakfast again to spend hours on a project? Well, in that case, the onset of laziness will make you reach for a pack of instant noodles. But considering health as a priority, homemade oatmeal porridge seems to be a better option. Top it with a dollop of peanut butter and banana slices and voila! A great meal to start your day with!

Workout while you WFH

Making time to workout while you WFH? This new work trend may keep you glued to your screen and your couch. Taking breaks at regular intervals to ease off some stress while keeping yourself off the couch — walk around the house, do 50 skips or squats and you are good to go.

Plan your meals

Plan your meals throughout the day just like you plan your day at work. Set aside some time towards the end of the day to plan for the next day. This will not just boost your productivity but will keep you from being a hungry mess at 5 in the evening and draw lines of discipline.

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You should plan your meals a day prior. Pixabay

Read More: Here’s How You Can Tackle Obesity And Stay Healthy During Lockdown

Cut out on caffeine

Are you reaching out for a cup of tea or coffee during odd hours? Here’s a wakeup call — start your day with a fresh pomegranate juice or fresh fruit. This will ensure a healthy sleep pattern and will keep your skin glowing.

Still binge-watching?

Binge-watching and couch potato go hand in hand. With screen times shooting up for as long as 10 hours, it is essential to give yourself a break from excessive screen time. Begin with a minimum of 30 minutes, it’s time to focus on your inner-self and cut out the external noises. (IANS)