We are what we eat, believes Sailaja Nukala, founder of Indic Living. Food plays a vital role in nourishing the body and plays a significant role in maintaining mental equilibrium. Hence, it is imperious to eat unprocessed or minimally processed food. Sailaja firmly believes that chemical-free and pesticide-free food is the way to holistic health as the chemicals, preservatives, and pesticides strip the nutrients from the produce. What reaches the consumer, in essence, is the residue of the process and not the health-safe product. Indic Living believes in a simple policy of eating: No chemicals and no preservatives food.
Farmers these days have been growing organic food, and there are very few platforms to sell them at. Even if they get a platform, the middlemen buy the produce at unbelievable prices. On the other side pesticides are used to make the plats and vegetables grow faster, and the same spoils the health of the consumers. Sailaja Nukala, thinking about all of this decision to start her own store and an online platform, Indic Living, only helps people eat good, pest-free food, and farmers sell food at a better price.
Below are the excerpts of an interview with Sailaja.
Could you tell me about yourself?
I am the founder of Indic Living, connecting the urban consumer to the rural farmer. I believe in the mantra, “We are what we eat ”. An Integrated approach towards a holistic lifestyle with simple changes in the food we eat makes a huge positive impact in our life. I am a nature lover, love talking to people, start my day with meditation and yoga. I also travel a lot exploring different places, cultures, traditions, and foods. Experiments with different foods especially look for healthier foods and feed my family. I am a mother to a 6-year-old homeschooled kid. So, we together explore a lot.
Why did you want to start a business?
Women should be independent. She is her own boss. I wanted to take care of my family, being my own boss. I wanted to explore different opportunities, especially in the food sector. Organic food just happened, and agriculture is the background where I come from and always used to think if I could solve a social cause with my venture. One woman can empower the other woman.
How was Indic Living born?
A few years back, I was told by a doctor to consume organic food, and that very term was very new to a person like me. That is when I started reading and understanding organic food. I being from a total science background, it was difficult too but not impossible to understand the concept of organic farming. I met many farmers in Karnataka, Andhra, etc., who helped me understand these new organic farming techniques, how eating organic food is helpful for our system to keep diseases at bay, etc. Food is being grown by many farmers adopting ancient methodologies. So, we are totally going back to the ancient times when food was considered a medicine, with no pesticides, no chemicals, and no preservatives. That’s when I decided on the name” Indic Living,” that’s the life we need today, “An Indic life.”
What do you think is the plight of organic farming in India?
Organic farming is the present and future of our country. A more dedicated, integrated, and ethical approach is required. When a farmer can sell to a customer directly with a good amount of profit, he will be the country’s pride. A customer should value the product that he is buying from a farmer, and the farmer should follow ethical practices in producing the food that he grows. Organic farming is the alternative method to address the ill effects of chemical farming practices in India. We have an internationally acclaimed certification process and many regulatory devices as well. But, many small farmers do genuine practices and are unfortunately bound by the costs for certifications.
Isn’t organic food expensive? Why can’t we get organic food for the regular price?
Organic food prices are decided for a more sustainable cause. Since no pesticides and chemicals are used, more intensive methods are used to keep the pests at bay, but they come at a high cost. The natural repellents derived come at a higher price than their conventional parts. There is more hands-on care required for maintenance. The price tag reflects the true cost of growing food, including labor, transportations, pre, and pro harvesting, natural repellents for pests, etc. But it is a great value for a disease-free life considering the present lifestyles that we follow.
Do you ship across India?
Yes, we have customers across the globe, and we do ship them.
What is your biggest inspiration?
Women farmers. I got to know a lady farmer in Maharashtra, whom we call Pooja didi lovingly through a common friend. She is a great inspiration. She alone took care of her 40-acre farm and shifted to natural farming after knowing the side effects caused by chemical farming. Growing food without chemicals is her passion. She sells all her vegetables to customers directly. She is a great inspiration for everyone.
What is the future of Indic Living?
We want to live through our vision. Every consumer has a right to eat a chemical-free and a portion of preservative-free food. We want to educate all those farmers who do chemical farming and gradually convert them to follow organic farming. Indic Living will be in the most important B 2 C segment globally, connecting organic farmers, women entrepreneurs, and other sustainable sources to the consumers taking everyone back to our roots.
How different is vegan to organic?
Consuming an animal product is much different from utilizing the excreta from an animal like a cow. A person who is a vegan will never consume milk or its bi-products. Still, the excreta has a lot of microbial growth and is a good natural pesticide which is the essence of natural farming practices.
How do you balance work and family life?
A woman is multi-handed, and yes, this is true and it is a god’s gift especially to women. I cook, take care of my family, home-school my kid and I work as well and yes all this is possible with a huge support from my family. I try to categorize my priorities, schedule, and organize all my activities for the day, avoiding unnecessary things. I meditate through this app called Black Lotus thrice a day which makes me stress free and gives me the strength to be better in whatever i do. A load of gratitude to my guru, who instilled kindness and gratitude in me. Service is the biggest boon to humankind, and I am fortunate to work, spread knowledge on holistic life. This greatly impacts my nature and my balancing out things in my personal and professional life.