Dr Vandana Shiva is an environmental activist at the forefront of bringing awareness to the issues surrounding conventional cotton farming industry in India, and its devastating effects on the farmers and their communities. Whilst out in India we were very keen to meet Dr Shiva and so made a special trip to her biodiversity farm, Navdanya (meaning nine seeds).
Whilst we were there, we took part in a course on Gandhi, Globalisation and Gross National Happiness. Taught by Dr Vandana Shiva, along with some other philosophers and teachers, such as Satish Kumar from Resurgence (one of the highly regarded magazines on ecology, social justice, spirituality & sustainability) & Rajgopal from Ekta Parishad (a huge non violent people's movement dedicated to social & land reform in India). We studied alongside 40 international students who, each searching in their own ways for a more sustainable way of living.
We found it some of the most thought provoking 10 days of our lives.
Navdanya has so far helped half a million farmers move into organic farming practices. Since corporations took over control of the seed industry & introduced GM cotton into India, Navdanya has been fighting for the rights of the farmers. The organisation has set up seed banks in 120 communities across India, whilst also providing support and education in organic and sustainable farming, such as in teaching natural pest control. a
Dr Shiva is one of the most influential activists, environmentalists & promoters of sustainable farming in India. We were lucky enough to have the opportunity to talk to her about our project - do have a listen!