by Tim Willmott : Be the first to leave a comment
Since 1987, the Navdanya programme has been saving seeds, promoting organic farming methods, raising awareness on the hazards of bio-safety, genetic engineering and bio-piracy, thereby defending people’s traditional food rights and food sovereignty in the face of globalization. Inspired by Indian scientist Vandana Shiva’s Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology, Navdanya pioneered the seed-saving movement, establishing over 20 seed banks in seven states, serving over 10,000 farmers and saving over 1,500 varieties of rice, millet, pulses, oil seeds and vegetables.
Navdanya’s Biodiversity Conservation and Organic Farm in the Himalayan foothills has transformed a land desertified by eucalyptus monoculture into a habitat where more than 650 varieties now flourish, including 250 rice varieties, 30 of wheat and many medicinal plants.
Navdanya means “nine seeds” (symbolizing protection of biological and cultural diversity) and also the “new gift” (for seed as commons, based on the right to save and share seeds. In today’s context of biological and ecological destruction, seed savers are the true givers of seed. This gift or “dana” of Navadhanyas (nine seeds) is the ultimate gift – it is a gift of life, of heritage and continuity. Conserving seed is conserving biodiversity, conserving knowledge of the seed and its utilization, conserving culture, conserving sustainability.
Navdanya is a network of seed keepers and organic producers spread across 17 states in India.
Navdanya has helped set up 111 community seed banks across the country, trained over 5,00,000 farmers in seed sovereignty, food sovereignty and sustainable agriculture over the past two decades, and helped setup the largest direct marketing, fair trade organic network in the country.
Navdanya has also set up a learning center, Bija Vidyapeeth (School of the Seed / Earth University) on its biodiversity conservation and organic farm in Doon Valley, Uttarakhand, North India.
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.