Thursday, September 16, 2010

Navdanya, Organic Food, and Women Farmers in India: In Case it Wasn't Already Clear: Women of Color do most of the World's Work that ISN'T Destructive to the World

photo of Indian women farmers protesting for their rights is from here

What follows is linked to by clicking on the title below.

Navdanya - India's biggest organic movement
Posted On: September 15
18navdanyaOn a recent trip to Delhi, I headed to one of my favourite haunts - Dilli Haat which is an open air market and a smorgasbord of everything that India has to offer. Shop no. 18 has a special call for me - this is the Navdanya organic food stall and the only place I've found in India that sells the kind of brown rice that I like. The Dilli Haat shop also has a cafe where you can sample some delicious organic fare made from traditional Indian grains.

Navdanya means 'nine grains' and is symbolic of the most important grains on which Indian agriculture is based. It is a women-centric organic program and was started by world-renowed scientist and environmentalist Dr. Vandana Shiva. It has helped set up 54 community seed banks across the country, trained over 500,000 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.

The organization does intensive scientific research on organic food and the hazards of chemical farming, the risk of genetic engineering and is working towards changing the mind-set of people. It sells over a hundred different crops under its label. Navdanya is going to celebrate the Earth Festival in Delhi on October 2nd and is continuing to work on creating awareness about ecological agriculture and the scope it can offer.

It is not just an organic store or a brand, but a movement created to show people that growing crops is intricately connected to environmental stewardship. Eating organic is truly one of the best things to follow in the quest for green living. In addition to organic agriculture, Navdanya practices fairtrade. It serves to preserve India's indigenous seed varieties and offers farmers freedom from buying seeds from conglomerates.

In addition to all this, its educational initiative Bija Vidyapeeth in partnership with the Schumacher College in UK, offers a unique opportunity to explore and practise the art and science of sustainability based on ecological principles at the peaceful pollution-free setting of Navdanya's organic farm in Doon Valley. It is a member of the Terra Madre slow food movement started in Torino, Italy.

In its work towards seed sovereignty, water conservation, land preservation and sustainable cultivation of crops the movement is an indication of where Indian agriculture could go if it went back to its roots.

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Akhila is a Justmeans staff writer for CSR and ethical consumption. As an IEMA certified CSR practitioner, she hopes to highlight a new way of doing business. She believes that consumers have the immense power to change 'business as usual' through their choices. She is a Graduate in Molecular Biology from the University of Glasgow, UK and in Environmental Management and Law. In her free-time she enjoys photography, travelling and the great outdoors. She also writes her own blog: