Vandana Shiva – seeds

Luke Rudkowski talks to Dr. Vandana Shiva, an Indian environmental activist and author.

Shiva discusses impact of GMO’s and Global corporates have had upon Indian farmers and communities. The definition of GMO is vague, for centuries farmers have kept, and breed the most successful plants. But since the 1980s corporates have created seeds treated with chemicals or exposed to radiation in order to create patents. Both of these seed types are labelled GMO.

In India, corporate GMO seeds often fail as they are unsuitable for the climate. Additionally monocultures – endless fields of soy and corn or cotton means particular pests flourish, while bird and bee populations lose their habitats. The concern is corporate GMO seeds have a weak root structure, therefore are less resilient. Weak roots means soil microbial life is starved and this in turn weakens soil structure, weak soil means low organic matter – which is how carbon is stored in the soil, and soil with low carbon cannot hold water so is vulnerable to drought and desertification.

Shiva advocates Agroecology which combines science and ancient agricultural practices. These sustainable practices produce enough to meet local needs, using a wide variety of ‘agroecological or organic’ techniques including recycling all organic material, use of locally-adapted crop strains, crop rotations and intercropping, biological pest control and livestock rearing. (Agroecology farming is also advocated by France). Agroecolgical farming reduces GHG emissions from the agricultural sector and builds resilience to any unavoidable climate change, protecting biodiversity, and sustaining communities and rural livelihoods.

Up until the 1950s industrial takeover, agricultural systems evolved over time. Different systems developed in different geographical settings and climates by different cultures. Primitive and traditional agriculture encompassed broad range of farming systems and plant varieties, hence is extremely resilient to changes in environment. Additionally agroecological methods reduce farmers’ reliance on external inputs (fertiliser, irrigation and pesticides) and state subsidies. This, in turn, makes vulnerable smallholders less dependent on local retailers and banks.

California fifth generation farmer and professor, Victor Davis Hansen has put forward the theory that western democracy evolved out of agrarian roots, tradition of the family farm within Greek society. Creating a debt cycle, and controlling the food supply is concerning on the premise, it weakens countries/communities with strong culture and economy based on agriculture.


Dr. Vandana Shiva

Navdanya is a network of seed keepers and organic producers spread across 22 states in India. Conserving seed is conserving biodiversity, conserving knowledge of the seed and its utilisation, conserving culture, conserving sustainability, seed sovereignty, food sovereignty and sustainable agriculture and helped setup the largest direct marketing, fair trade organic network in the country.

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 and climate change. Navdanya is a women centred movement for the protection of biological and cultural diversity.

NZ Seed Library

Koanga Institute is NZ’s local seed library. Over the last 30 years Koanga has collected heritage seeds. A selection of seeds is available for purchase to home gardeners, along with information on how to grow seedlings and how to grow in a nutrient dense manner and suggested companion plants.   Additionally Koanga provides courses on permaculture design, seeds, propagation and regenerative living. Koanga is located in Northern Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand.

Luke Rudkowski–

We Are Change is a nonpartisan, independent media organisation comprised of individuals and groups working to expose corruption worldwide. Comprised of independent journalists, concerned citizens, activists. By asking the hard questions the mainstream media refuses to ask, we shine a light.

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