Going back to the roots: Why hyperlocalism is the way forward

With our lives revolving around the Internet, we have access to all the information around the world, which in a way has led to us getting disconnected from what is happening in our immediate surroundings.

Most millennials and Gen-Z members pay the least attention to what is happening at home or with their family (they’d rather get updates on WhatsApp). They come to know about the new cafe that has come up in the city on local discovery platforms. But they will all be updated about the latest shows that are being planned to release in the USA on Netflix, they will be aware of what food people living in Japan are eating, and when would the new royal baby arrive in the world.

This is the reason why, while certain apps in India are taking us global, like Amazon, Uber, and Tinder, there are certain industries, which need to go hyperlocal, not just to survive in this dynamic world, but also to keep people rooted to their origins. Maybe that is the reason why even global giants such as Amazon are partnering with StoreKing to explore its potential in Tier II and Tier III cities and tap into the rural markets of India.

Even when it comes to journalism, regional publications are growing faster and are more sustainable than national or international publications, which are, in fact, suffering huge losses. E-commerce is pushing out more local brands than promoting regular popular brands.

The industry which sees this trend the most is, perhaps, the food industry. We have seen many restaurants around the world embracing local ingredients, local flavors, and giving more strength to local farmers and markets. Many Michelin-starred restaurants and award-winning chefs have emphasized on the importance of regional food and family recipes.

Chef Ranveer Brar talked about the “food trend” in question to Telegraph India when he said, “Currently, I’m loving that the trend is going back to regional, authentic, local flavors, ingredients and making them the hero. These flavors are something each of us has grown up with. Every country has an identity stamp and whether we like it or not, our flavors are our distinct and authentic identity stamp. Hence anything to do with our culture, we need to showcase because that’s eventually our identity.”

Mumbai-born Garima Arora, whose Bangkok restaurant GAA just won its first Michelin star, making her the first Indian-origin female chef to win the esteemed accolade. The Michelin Guide 2019 awarded a star to GAA for “locally sourced ingredients that are transformed into something unexpected”.

Mumbai-based chef Saransh Goila, who was put on the world culinary map by George Calombaris after he declared Goila’s Butter Chicken as the best in the world on an episode of Masterchef Australia, 2018, has stressed on his love for unearthing stories about little-known culinary gems from across the country. Goila is taking his dream forward by working on his new food show — Sadak Chef — where he is going to feature some local, lesser-known food items native to a particular region of the country, and the unsung heroes behind the food.

Kitchen gardens are a growing trend; people are taking more and more interest in growing their own herbs. I have a few friends who have successfully grown tomatoes and green chili at home, and plan to expand their “tiny window-sill garden”.

In a time of being constantly (sometimes unwillingly) digitally connected to everyone in the world, it is important that you do not forget your roots. Make sure you remain connected to your surroundings. Take your eyes off your phone screen and observe the people on the road for a few minutes; look at the trees and see how they change in different seasons; go to the local food market and explore the local produce — take in the smell, colors, and their taste; put away your Kindle for a few days and visit the local library. Because no matter how much you grow and move forward, being deeply rooted will always be more important to survive.

Eternal escapist, in love with books, football, and long drives. Follow me on IG @ komorebi5