By Jen Frey One can hardly talk about the importance of Seeds and seed sovereignty without mentioning Dr. Vandana Shiva and her work. In fact, Vandana Shiva and Seeds are practically inseparable. Dr. Shiva is the author of numerous books including Stolen Harvest and Biopiracy; an activist; an international speaker and advisor, including working with the government of Bhutan to make Bhutan 100% Organic; founder of Navdanya; and a scientist (her PhD is in Physics)! According to their website, navdanya.org:
“Navdanya is actively involved in the rejuvenation of indigenous knowledge and culture. It has created awareness on the hazards of genetic engineering, defended people's knowledge from biopiracy and food rights in the face of globalisation.
It has its own seed bank and organic farm spread over an area of 45 acres in Uttrakhand, north India.
Navdanya has so far successfully conserved more than 5000 crop varieties including 3000 of rice, 150 of wheat, 150 of kidney beans (rajma), 15 of millets and several varieties of pulses, vegetable, medicinal plants etc.”
Dr. Shiva has been involved in curtailing Monsanto’s efforts of seed monopoly around the world and especially in India. She is a strong advocate for seed sovereignty, which includes the ability of farmers to collect and save their own seed instead of being held hostage to purchasing seeds (and often the required chemicals for growing those seeds) for each planting. Dr. Shiva recognizes the importance that Seeds have on a person’s life, literally, as she works in an area with high farmer suicide rates. In “Seeds of Truth” Dr. Shiva writes, “There is a cause for each and every farmer taking his own life, he is not driven to it by correlation. And the cause is a high cost monopoly system with no alternative.”
Being able to save one’s seeds, not only assures economic advantage, it also allows one to choose what type of Plants will be grown and to an extent how they will be grown. It gives freedom of choice to the individual, whether this is a small gardener with a couple tomato plants, a mid-size CSA growing food for 100 families, or a large farm of hundreds of acres. As Dr. Shiva says, “Seed is the source of Life and the first link in the food chain. Control over seed means control over our lives, our food, and our freedom.”
Dr. Shiva’s work goes way beyond seeds to include honoring women and equality for all, honoring all aspects of Nature (water, soil, Trees, etc.), supporting true democracy, and more. Dr. Shiva writes, “I consciously made a decision to dedicate my life to protect the Earth, its ecosystems, and communities.” We honor Dr. Shiva and her incredible efforts truly making this world a better place for our children and their children.
The Organization of Nature Evolutionaries recognizes a resonance and connection with Navdanya, which can be seen in their philosophy throughout their website. One example is this quote, “ Navdanya is born of a vision that all beings have intrinsic value and an inherent right to live, grow and evolve to their full potential through their self organization. The diversity of biological life forms and cultures is the basis of peace, harmony and sustainability. We therefore view the conservation of biodiversity and protection of all life forms as a fundamental human duty, as our universal responsibility.” ONE could not agree more! One of the goals of the Organization of Nature Evolutionariesis to connect individuals, organizations, and companies who are creating a better world. It is so easy to feel alone or that one's efforts are not enough. Our strength comes when we recognize that there are many incredible people working to change our paradigm. When we connect, we support and feed one another, we ignite and inspire. Therefore, we are excited to share some of the work of Dr. Vandana Shiva and Navdanya. We encourage you to learn more and make your own connection.
You can sign a letter to Prime Minister Modi and President Obama on Seed Freedom and Food Democracy here http://navdanya.org/campaigns/478-seed-freedom-and-food-democracy