And we’ve been networking! From scientists, to farmers, to activists, to chefs, we’ve connected with many brilliant people working towards just and ecological food systems for all.
The problem is that government-supported Big Ag and Big Food have limitless public relations resources, putting agro-ecologists at a disadvantage. This is especially true in the developing world where there is relentless marketing of GMOs and widespread occurrence of corporate land grabs.
We’ve forged over fifty alliances already, including with Seed Freedom, African Biodiversity Network, Center for Food Safety, Edible Communities, Global GMO Free Coalition, The Greenhorns, Rodale Institute, Soil not Oil Coalition and Seed Savers Exchange. With our newly minted promotional reel, we’ll be reaching out to a list of more than 150 additional organizations across the globe.
Speaking of the promotional reel, here it is!
Since we returned from filming at the People’s Climate March in September, we’ve been tracking Vandana Shiva’s schedule from then until now.
Holy Moly: She’s visited upward of fourteen cities in North America and made multiple appearances to capacity crowds. We caught up with her in Canada (for the Festival of Dangerous Ideas (thank you Beyond Pesticides for supporting our trip), in Los Angeles with a hip crowd at UCLA’s Hammer Museum, and most recently in San Francisco at the Earth at Risk Conference produced by the radical and feisty Fertile Ground Institute.
The crowds that Vandana attracts are diverse. But they are unified in their commitment to a just and ecologically sustainable world. Vandana talks about this vision–what she calls Earth Democracy–in this short clip: The Seattle reference points to the 1992 WTO meetings, where Dr. Shiva and others spoke out about the spreading power of multinational corporations–not only in America but all over the globe.
What better time to imagine a more just and desirable world than during the Holiday Season as we look forward to a New Year? In the past three months we’ve felt privileged to be around so many energized individuals dedicated to creating a healthier planet. Judging by these folks, environmental activism is alive and well, life affirming and inspiring. We’d recommend it!
Do we sound like a fan club? No, we’re a film. Hopefully a good one, because this film has an incredible story to tell. Creatively, The Seeds of Vandana Shiva is firmly on track and when we’re not filming we’re reviewing and organizing all our film footage. Editing a video required for submission to foundations and sponsors for funding begins in earnest next month.
The success of the movement for a just and sustainable food system–of which we like to think The Seeds of Vandana Shiva will play a small part–depends on creating and empowering networks for change. For us, in our way, that means relationships and partnerships with others who care about sharing this story. So if you, or anyone you know is interested in collaborating with us–we’re talking website, social media, marketing, editing, even fundraising–get in touch with us here.
In the meantime, we wish you a happy, healthy, prosperous and earth friendly 2015!
P.S: Here’s a three minute video we made about the A-Z of Agroecology Course that we attended while filming and interviewing Vandana in September. Yes, the filming trip made possible by our generous donors! There is a still a LOT to do on this project and you can still make a tax-deductible donation in 2014. Click here for details!
This video is about the A-Z of Agroecology and Organic Food Systems that is held for the whole month of September at Vandana Shiva’s Bija Vidyapeeth, Earth University, at Navdanya each year.
In September 2014, filming for our documentary, The Seeds of Vandana Shiva, we spent a few weeks with Dr. Shiva in Northern India. She was on her farm, Navdanya, for the annual A-Z of Agroecology Course which takes place from September 1 to September 31 each year. One day we checked in with several of the participants, who share their thoughts about the A-Z Course in this clip.
What does a bullock have to do with The Seeds of Vandana Shiva?
Quite a bit it turns out…
We just spent two weeks with Vandana on her farm in Northern India. While conducting interviews and collecting footage for the film, we also joined a diverse group of students from all over the world–and all over India–there to attend a month long A-Z intensive on agro ecology and organic food systems.
Little wonder cattle are revered in India. On small farms they provide manure for fertilizer, muscle power to till fields, along with milk for the family and to sell to the community. Their dung is also used for fuel and in the construction of buildings. Who needs to buy gas guzzling tractors or toxic chemical inputs when this placid guy can give you so much?
There are so many fascinating things to learn about the web of life and how–with cooperation, not domination–it can sustain us. Though we enjoyed sneaking in to the lectures and talks, we also spent many hours with Vandana herself, exploring a gamut of topics, ranging from her introduction to indigenous spirituality by the tribal women of the Himalayas to her role in the 1999 “Battle of Seattle” protests against the WTO.
Speaking of spirituality, Jim Becket and Jim Whitney just spent several days with her in New York City where they filmed at the Religions of the Earth Conference at Union Theological Seminary and at the People’s Climate March, the largest climate change protest in history. Focused on talks scheduled to take place at the United Nations this week, more than 1,500 organizations took part in the New York demonstrations, with satellite events all over the world.
Since more than 40% of greenhouse gases can be attributed to industrial agriculture, Vandana has been a long time promoter of agro-ecology as a viable antidote. Here’s a clip from a discussion we had with her last week. The treaty she refers to is the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) that was negotiated at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992.
Of course we would not have these comments on film without your support! So again, we must thank all of you who contributed to our seed fund campaign. Our filming trip to India was a huge success, and we can’t wait to go through our reams of footage to begin the (long) process of putting together the film. By the way, we also collected seeds, spices, and hand woven cotton stoles while we were in India, which we will distribute, as promised, to our valued donors.
We’re getting ready to leave for India!
And we’re thinking about Thank You Gifts for our generous donors. Please expect them towards the end of September, when we get back.
As you know, we are traveling to India to film for our new documentary, The Seeds of Vandana Shiva, which tells the remarkable life story of eco activist Dr. Vandana Shiva, how she stood up to the corporate Goliaths of chemical agribusiness, rose to prominence in the environmental movement, and inspired an international movement for change.
You can still make a tax-deductible donation towards production costs for this project!
Our next step is to create a fundraising video to help us secure foundation funding to complete a full-length version of this important film.
Here’s Vandana on Mechanical Science versus Indigenous Knowledge:
Some background: When she was researching her book about women and ecology, Staying Alive (first published in 1989), Vandana began to look at science in a new way. The Neem Tree she mentions in this clip is indigenous to India, and has been used for centuries in Indian medicine and agriculture. In 2000 the European Patent Office revoked a patent on Neem for pesticide use that had been granted to the U.S. based W. R. Grace Corporation, ruling that the patent amounted to bio-piracy. Vandana’s activism was key to the ruling.
As to her own scientific credentials, as a child Vandana was considered a science prodigy, and received important science scholarships throughout her education. She earned her first degree in Particle Physics at the University of Chandigarh, and her PhD in the Philosophy of Quantum Theory from the University of Western Ontario in Canada. Before founding her Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology, she did interdisciplinary research in science, technology and environmental policy at the Indian Institute for Science. There’ll be more on her scientific career in the film!
Again, deep appreciation and thanks to our donors. Don’t forget to select your Thank You Gifts. We’ll be back in touch when we get back from India.
Vandana Shiva is a brilliant scientist and environmental activist at the center of an epic battle over the world’s food system. The fight is between industrial, chemically dependent agriculture (in cahoots with “Big Food”) and ecologically sustainable farming that supports the health of the planet and the wellbeing of all people.
Dr. Shiva is known as Monsanto’s worst nightmare as well as a rock star of the sustainable food movement. But outside of the world of environmental activism, she’s relatively unknown. This despite the fact that she has proven definitively that organic agriculture produces higher yields and greater nutrition at a much lower cost than toxic chemical agriculture.
The Seeds of Vandana Shiva will clarify the issues at stake through the lens of Vandana’s extraordinary life story. Today, there is enormous corporate investment in spin to discredit her, with claims that industrial agriculture is not only healthy, but the only viable means for “feeding the world.” However, this inspiring woman’s fight for seed freedom and democracy against seed monopolies and the rule of multinational corporations will tell the true story.
We can still tip the balance in this David vs. Goliath battle before us. With The Seeds of Vandana Shiva, we are blessed with a story of Gandhian proportions that we hope will appeal to a broad audience and, importantly, inspire viewers to action.