In all our research on the devastating effects of conventional cotton on the farmers in India, Dr Vandana Shiva is always at the forefront of the drive for positive change. So whilst out in India we went to her biodiversity farm, Navdanya, to meet with her. Whilst there we did a course on Gandhi Globalisation and Gross National Happiness. There were some incredible teachers including 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) alongside 40 international students who, each in their own way, are working towards a more sustainable way of living. It was probably one of the most thought provoking 10 days of our journey so far!
Navdanya has so far helped half a million farmers move into organic farming practices. Since corporations took over control of the seeds & introduced GM cotton into India, Navdanya has been fighting for the rights of the farmers, setting up 120 seed banks & encouraging seed saving, natural pest control and an alternative to the unimaginable dept & disaster that the introduction of conventional farmer has had on Indian farmers - which have been largely responsible for the deaths of 300,000 farmers.
Dr Shiva is one of the most influential activists, environmentalists & promoters of traditional farming in India & a complete inspiration to us. We were lucky enough to have the opportunity to talk to her about our project - do have a listen!