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National Association of Street Vendors of India NASVI

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The National Association of Street Vendors of India (NASVI) has been a pioneering force in organizing national-level food festivals, with the journey of the National Street Food Festival beginning in 2009. NASVI has consistently worked to protect the rights of street vendors across India, from being instrumental in advocating for the Street Vendors Act 2014 to organizing the celebrated Street Food Festival. The National Street Food Festival serves as a platform for street vendors to grow, learn, and showcase their culinary talents, offering delicious street food in the heart of India.

The last edition of the National Street Food Festival was held from December 29th to 31st, 2023, at Gate Number 14, Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, New Delhi. The festival welcomed visitors between 12 PM and 10 PM each day, garnering enthusiastic and positive responses from participants and attendees alike. The event was inaugurated at 4 PM on December 29th by the Honorable Minister of Housing and Urban Affairs, and Petroleum and Natural Gas, Shri Hardeep Singh Puri, with the presence of celebrity chef Shri Kunal Kapoor adding to the event’s prestige.

This year’s festival marked a significant milestone as India’s first “Zero Waste Street Food Festival.” Shri Puri commended NASVI for aligning the event with the Swachh Bharat (Clean India) movement, highlighting the organization’s commitment to sustainability. The Minister expressed gratitude to NASVI for educating 150,000 street vendors on food safety and sanitation, a testament to the organization’s dedication to improving vendor practices. He also mentioned the creation of two Regional Street Food Vendors Training Institutes (SVTI) in Delhi and Patna, which will be opened by NASVI in 2024. According to him, these institutions will emphasize food safety and hygiene in addition to offering instruction in culinary arts.

The festival saw vendors from across India bringing their special regional foods, representing the diverse culinary traditions of their states. Many unique and lesser-known foods were discovered by attendees, enhancing the festival’s appeal. Additionally, the festival introduced international cuisines to Delhiites, with street food vendors from Turkey, Afghanistan, Nepal, Tibet, and other countries serving authentic dishes from their respective cultures.

Vendors experimented with cooking styles, embracing innovations such as E-Cooking. The food stall from Assam, for example, operated using induction cookers, demonstrating an effective and modern approach for vendors. Notably, this was the first national street food festival to ensure that not a single kilogram of waste was sent to a landfill. The event adhered to plastic waste management rules, avoiding single-use plastics entirely. All cutlery was made from natural leaves like “pattal” and wooden utensils. Organic waste was composted, and all packaging materials were sent for 100% recycling, reinforcing the festival’s commitment to sustainability.

A significant feature of the festival was the “Chaupal,” a panel discussion forum that captivated audiences with interactive sessions on topics such as Street Food Culture: Gastronomy Tourism, Cyber Crime, Meditation, and more. The panels featured eminent personalities, including Senior Reporter Seema Jha from Dainik Jagran, Influencer Anubhav Sapra from Delhi Food Walks, and Sourish Bhattacharyya, Managing Editor of Indo-Asian News Service (IANS), among others.

Cultural performances added another dimension to the festival, showcasing a variety of acts from Qawwali and Ghatka to K-Pop and Kathak. These performances provided a platform for budding artists and performers, enriching the festival’s cultural tapestry.

The 2023 edition of the National Street Food Festival attracted approximately 35,000 visitors from various walks of life, including college students, working professionals, and food enthusiasts. Attendees enjoyed and appreciated the diverse food culture presented at the festival, making it a memorable and impactful event.

Overall, the National Street Food Festival, organized by NASVI, continues to be a significant event, promoting the rich street food culture of India while fostering innovation, sustainability, and cultural exchange.

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